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Class_B-P)?>F ?^S 
Book,, . E 3 5 5 1- 

COFXRIGHT DEPOSIT. 



STARDUST 

AND 

DANDELIONS 



Stardust 

AND 

Dandelions 



BY 

FREDERIC ZEIGEN 

Author of "Breezes from the Pines," "Therold 
Archer Knowlton," etc., etc. 



NEW YORK 
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



^54^^ 






COPTEIGHT, 1922, 

Bt THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY 



ICI.A681961 



PEIXTED IN THE TTNITED STATES OT AMEEICA 



SEP 27 1922 . 



Whose faith in my ability to do this 
work has been my greatest inspiration, 
is this volume affectionately dedicated. 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 

Introduction by James Oliver Curwood xi 

Stardust and Dandelions xiii 

The Friend— To J. O. C xiy 

BALLADS AND SKETCHES 

The Sale of Old Dobbin 3 

Growing Old 7 

The Reader 8 

To THE Trailing Arbutus 9 

A November Day ii 

The Singing School 12 

The Cobbler 16 

The Holland Mother 19 

By Gar, Dat Tony Man 20 

The Broken Violet 22 

Our Clock-Golf Days 23 

In Chains 24 

Politics 26 

Prohibition 27 

Despair 30 

The Whisperers 33 

Reverie 34 

Spring 36 

October 37 

The Face in the Car Window 38 

Hope 39 

The Weaver 42 

Ship Ahoy! 50 

Ode to the Saginaw 55 

CHILDREN'S POEMS 

Good Night 61 

When I Come Home at Night 64 

How Baby Phyllis Came 66 

"FsE Dest a Little Dirl, Daddy" 67 

Sir Blue Bottle Fly 69 

Ouwoocheegaroo 70 

My Little Baby Bruwer 72 

The Oogilithump • • 73 

vii 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGB 

The Bells of Santa 76 

"I Expect" 'j'j 

Johnny Sees the Courtin' 80 

Robin Red Breast 83 

Leetle Peter Oopdyke 85 

TooDLUMS Is Gone 86 

Evening Prayer 88 

A Bushel of Snow 89 

Goin' to Meet Gran'ma 99 

PATRIOTIC POEMS 

The God of War 105 

My Native Land 107 

No Cov^ards Here 108 

Seeking the Bean r 109 

Taps in 

The Deserter 113 

Bullets, Bullets, Bullets I 115 

PEP POEMS 

Just Keep A-Goin* 123 

Smilin' Through 124 

Success 126 

The Peptomaniac 127 

What, Not Who 129 

Soak Him! 131 

Fine Day 132 

Little Dogs Yap at the Big Dog's Heels . . . .133 

The Man with the Dish-Rag Heart 135 

Buck Up! 136 

Hit Hard if You Hit at All 137 

I'll not Be a Slacker 139 

The Hearty Hand-Shake 141 

Looking for Trouble ... . .143 

IN LIGHTER VEIN 

My Daily Task 147 

A "Furrin"' Trip i49 

When Daisy Cow Went Dry 153 

The Simple Life 154 

The Strenuous Life 155 

Weeds 156 

Secrets 158 

Elaine, I Would Like to Bite Thee 160 

A Spring Toast 163 

Death 170 

Seabreeze Beach in the Moonlight . . . . . .172 



CONTENTS ix 

PAOB 

LYRICS OF LOVE 

Lines to Love ....,,. 179 

To MY Wonder-Girl ,.: . . 180 

Gone So Soon 182 

A Plea . 183 

To the Girl with the Olive-Tinted Eyes .... 184 

Alack a Day 185 

Georgia 186 

But One 188 

To Thee 189 

It Might Have Been 190 

Heartache 192 

When I Meet Her Again 194 

"Thoughts, Idle Thoughts'* 195 

The Knight's Reply 197 

Wipe Away Your Tears, Dear 199 

Longing , 200 

MEDITATIVJE POEMS 

My Silent Friends of the Library ...... 203 

The Chimes 205 

Stedman ,. . 207 

To Edgar Allan Poe 208 

To-day Is the To-morrow of Yesterday 209 

The Storm 231 

Misunderstood , 234 

After All 236 

The Birth 238 

In Excelsis 240 

The Suicide 242 

To Know Thy God 243 

The Criminal 244 

The Tragedy of Life 247 

Soliloquy 250 

The Past 252 

The Mystery of the Sphinx , 253 

The Cosmic Urge 255 

The Doom 261 

Graduation Ode ;. 274 

L'Envoi .,......,.,. ., ,., ., . . . .281 



INTRODUCTION 

In giving this little book of verse to the public, I feel 
that Frederic Zeigen, its author, is in a way doing more 
than many men and women who have achieved their niche 
in that hall of fame to which all poets aspire. For, born 
of literary and musical stock, and being, above all else, a 
dreamer, and idealist and a visionary, the force of circum- 
stances, instead of directing him into the creative channels 
for which he was so eminently fitted, made of him a busi- 
ness man — and a good business man at that, a construc- 
tionist of the highest type in physical things, a man of 
finance, and of cold, deliberate business brains. 

Yet this force of circumstance could not, and has not 
destroyed the other side of him, so that to me — regarding 
him as a friend — ^he is an amazing combination of the 
poetic and the practical ; the practical side of him wrought 
by necessity, the poetic by birth and temperament. For 
this reason, I say, he has achieved what some poets of 
great reputation have not, for he has shown that the man 
buried deep in the every-day necessities of a hard practical 
life need not lose the finer things born in him, but may, 
indeed, rise to high inspiration because of this pitiless 
strife among men in the building of physical things. 
Because I have found many things in his writings that 
are worth while, I feel somewhat responsible for the ap- 
pearance of this book, and believe that it presents to the 

reader more of the man than I, even though a friend, can 

xi 



xii INTRODUCTION 

describe. And not only as a friend, but as a critic, I 
have very great faith in what Hes between the two covers 
of this book. 

James Oliver Curwood. 
Owosso, December 21, 1921. 



STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Stardust and dandelions — 

A hope of nobler things, 
A hint of flowers in the dale, 

A thought caught on fleet wings; 
An earnest of the breath of Spring, 

A fantasy of mirth, 
A flight above the vaulted skies. 

An arrow dropped to earth. 

A star exploded in vast space 

Its diamond dust scattered round, 
Each speck has made another soul, 

Or formed a flower on the ground; 
Some dust-mites shaped the best in life, 

While some proved not so fine, 
Some shaped the hearts, the souls of babeSs 

And some the lowly dandelion. 



Xlll 



THE FRIEND 

TO J. O. C. 

Mighty few men you can call a good friend, 
Who will stick thru thick and thin; 
Mighty few fellows can be a true pal, 
Right there when the troubles begin ; 
Mighty few hands that will hold you up 
When the footsteps have started to lag; 
And less than a twain will ask you to sup 
His last crust or share his last rag. 

Yes, mighty few friends in this envious world. 

Who will back you when all others fail, 

Who will give you a boost, and grasp your weak hand 

When your spirit begins to quail. 

And mighty few friends — ^yes, almighty few — 

Will believe you when slanders abound, 

When the Hounds of Malice have bayed at your heels 

And almost have run you to ground. 

But sometimes you find, just once in an age, 

That a friend — a good friend and true — 

Will spring to your side and fight for your hide. 

Because he's a friend to just you; 

And tho modest and quiet, nor vaunting his love, 

In the grasp of his hand we can see 

What his brave even eye can never deny, — 

That faith for just you, or for me. 

xiv 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 



THE SALE OF OLD DOBBIN 

"How much am I bid for Old Dobbin?" 
The raucous voice droned the sound 
As a smile lumed the face of the knockers, 
And a gathering grin went round. 
"How much is he bid for Old Dobbin? 
Just look at his skinny old side ! 
Just glance at the film-crusted eyelids, 
And the hair as it hangs from his hide !" 

"How much am I bid for Old Dobbin?" 
Persisted the auctioneer bold, 
"He's the smartest old boss in eight counties, 
And runs like a streak, IVe been told. 
How much am I bid for Old Dobbin? 
Why, men, don't you know what is up? 
Come ! Squint at his teeth and his fore hoof, 
(Here, boy, just a swig from that cup.) 

"How much am I bid for Old Dobbin? 
Run it high if a bid you can make. 
That's the nag which won our big Derby, 
And captured Death's handicap stake. 
Bid up, bid up on Old Dobbin ! 
Hi there ! you long-whiskered lout ! 
Start the price on this last of the reindeer, 
Once the boast of every old tout. 



STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

"Ten, do I hear on Old Dobbin? 
Why, why, men, that's almost a shame ! 
Best stock of sire Vixen of Norway; 
Good blood ! And Eagle his dame. 
Lifd! folks, just glance at old Grandpa, — 
He's sobbing there almost alone; 
He's lost his every last penny 
And even Old Dobbin is goin'! 

"Oh, well I remember the story 

How Dobbin, that shambling nag there, 

Made a wonderful race one winter 

And busted the record for fair. 

'Twas the year of the great black blizzard; 

Whole sections lay deep 'neath the pall, 

And everywhere piled high like mountains 

The snow-pack had drift like a wall; 

"And fever and death crushed our valley, 

With the Doctor miles away; 

All the babes in the village were dying. 

And no one to save them that day. 

Not one of you dared brave that tempest, 

Till Grandpa there put on his hat 

And hitched to his sled this poor Dobbin, — 

Why neighbors, — have you forgot that? 

"And every one said 'couldn't do it,* 
And mothers gave up in despair. 
But mountains of ice had no terrors 
For Grandpa and Old Dobbin there. 
Over the snow they went plunging, 
Deep into the swirling storm's gloom, 
And it seemed that now came the death blow, 
For Old Dobbin must sure meet his doom. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES [5; 

**Oh, the struggle, the fight they made of it! 
Oh, despair hung oft on his brow, 
But the babies they needed the Doctor, — 
Men, don't you remember it now? 
Up to their neck then they waded ! 
Inch by inch fought through the snow! 
And all that they thought of was Rescue, 
For the Doctor to cheer our sad woe. 

"And he sobbed at the still little bodies 

Of our babies gasping their last, 

And his eyes brimmed with tears of great sorrow, 

At the woe of the mothers he passed. 

So he fought through the storm with grim fervor 

To get to that Doctor some way. 

Why! 'twas all his life was worth, men 

To be out through that long cold day. 

"The cold was way below zero. 
You could hardly see 'cross the road, 
And even to look out the window 
Would freeze your over-chilled blood. 
But Old Dobbin and Grandpa persisted! 
They struggled, they clashed 'gainst Grim Death 
Till after nine hours of hard battle 
They reached the Doctor's warm hearth. 

"So, how much am I bid for Old Dobbin? 

Twenty-five, did I hear from that gent? 

Just wait till I tell all my story 

Of Old Dobbin and Grandpa Kent. 

Doc wouldn't come in the blizzard. 

But Grandpa with fingers of ice 

Just grabbed him and bound him together 

And held him in like a steel vise. 



STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

"Then bundled him into the lap-robe, 
And off they flew on the home trail — 
On, on through the fiends of the blizzard, 
Far on, through the death-dealing gale. 
They fought for the trail in the darkness, 
And filled with the frenzy of strife 
Fighting their way through the snowdrifts, 
They battled for your babies' Hfe! 

"As the first break of dawn tinged the sky-line, 

*Bout frozen and near in despair, 

They came to your house, old John Roger, 

And saved your little one there. 

And then to yours, grizzly Tom Bowin, 

They brought your baby to live, — 

Come, boys, I think it about time that 

Some fellows had learned how to give. 

"All through the village went Grandpa 
With the Doctor who alone could save, 
And only one or two of the toddlers 
Were finally laid deep in their grave. 
Tom Smith, and you Jacob Saunders, 
And you Tilly Squires, and the Frys, — 
Oh, yes, just cry there a little, — 
Ah, — tears in every one's eyes? 

"For Grandpa was so frozen that blizzard 
That he could never work from that day; 
And there he sits in his sorrow. 
While YOU take his old home away! 
How much am I bid there, you fellows. 
One Hundred? is that what I hear? 
One Thousand? Let's take a collection, — 
God bless you! Now every one cheer!" 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 7 



GROWING OLD 

We may be growing old, Dear, 
The sands are sinking fast; 
But still our love we hold, Dear, 
Our faith unto the last. 

Throughout the struggling years. Dear, 
We faced the angry Fates, 
We fought the wolf who howled in vain 
And rattled at our gates. 

And through it all we held our love. 
We cherished well our oath; 
For all our joy came from above. 
And God has blessed us both. 

Yes, we may be growing old, Dear, 
But God has loved us well, 
Our children live a life of trust. 
And in "His Name" we dwell 



3 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE READER 

In she came from the market, 
Eyes full-Hquid, glowing proud, 
For his dinner she had purchased 
From the huckster, blatting loud, — 
New-dressed pullet, onions, fish, 
Lettuce, celery, spuds, and meal, 
Figs, and prunes, — a royal dish. 
And good things for the stomach's weal. 

But now she pauses at the door, 
And hesitates before the shelf. 
Her basket drops upon the floor, 
And she forgets her housewife self ; 
For there a book with charmed page 
Smiles up and beckons for a peek, — 
Ah, just one moment, just an age. 
Might as well just take a week; 
Forgotten is her morning hour, 
Unthought her liege lord's soon return. 
For her. Knighthood was still in flower. 
Nor recks she of his anger stern. 
For deep she reads and on and on 
Until the time for work is gone. 

Ah, what doth she read? 

Aristotle? Curwood? Hume? McGrath? 

Some love-tale of the distant past? 

Some honeyed poem of gay today? 

I hope it is my book, — I pray, — 
I wonder, ah, what doth she read? 



I 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 



TO THE TRAILING ARBUTUS 

Hidden from view, covered with dew, 

Shy as the breeze on a cool summer morn; 
Under the soft cHnging sod are you born, 

Close to the clasp of fond mother earth; 
Born from the gloom into fragrant mirth, 

Bashful and shy with down-looking eye. 
Hidden from gaze to conceal your pure worth, 

You trail, sweet arbutus, a redolent birth 
From the bed of the fairies to the babe of the sky. 

Pink be your buds, shrouded with hoods 

That screen you from sight of the merry-elf child ; 
But the tenderest step of the undefiled 

Will crush you and turn you to yellow sear. 
And make the poor fairy to shed its sad tear ; 

Yet th' aroma of death gives a far sweeter breath, 
And fills with its soul the perfumed still air 

That steals to the moon and everywhere, 
Like the incense that rises from the altar of Lethe. 

Far in yon vale you breathe your low tale 

To the spring that soft murmurs and trickles about ; 
While down yon green mound you trellis without 

One finger of mortal to guide your blind way, 
Yet gently you creep from Life's glaring day 

In the soft swaying grasses, beneath the full masses 
Of wintergreen berries and sweet-smelling vines. 

Of clustering violets and far purpled pines, 
And love, then, to dream in the green silken mosses. 



lo STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Trailing your way from the bright fervid day, 

Too gentle to meet the bold stare of fierce noon, 
Or the passion of Apollo, or the kiss of pale Moon; 

If you have a path 'neath the damp of the gloom. 
And can give forth your fragrance in pink-blossomed 
bloom. 

Then strive my Soul, too ; live purer and true. 
That my low-bowered path with laughter and song 

Will make the weak strong, tho far from the throng ; 
And do in my gloom what 'tis noblest to do. 



i 



« 



J 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES ii 



A NOVEMBER DAY 

MORNING 

The morn is cold and dank and dreary, 
And a fog hangs over the town; 
And the wind, it mourns and moans so eerie 
That the sky has put on a frown 
And the ice-bound Hmbs on the naked trees 
FHng out their arms, and sob, and freeze; 
And the sleet keeps driving down. 

NOO'N 

The noon is wet and cold and dreary, 
And the clouds are hovering low, 
Like the mists of death that were never weary 
From the pits of Infernus to flow: 
And the dull grey gloom of the distant hill 
Seems to shudder and shake with an ague chill — 
And the world is full of woe. 

NIGHT 

The night is wet and chill and dreary, 
And the sky is dark as the tomb; 
And even the swallows have "fled from their eyry, 
While the flowers have met their sad doom ; 
But the scurrying clouds in yon vaulted sky 
Reflect the lights that guide us on high, 
And a star pierces the gloom. 

PRAYER 

O, Star! O light of another world, 

Teach us thy sacred story, 

Teach us to hope e*en through the gloom, 

Lift us above our lesser doom, — 

Ah! Let us reflect thy glory! 



12 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE SINGING SCHOOL 

Wednesday night, and down the winding, ice-bound road, 
From every farm and cottage by the way. 

Many laughing maids in cutters, load on load, 
Come jingling past, and shout full merrily. 

And bashful, awkward swains in new-pressed Sunday 
best. 

Guide the prancing teams, and answer to the jest. 

Cold the air, and clear as crystal. Far o'er head. 
Like chilly diamonds strewn with lavish hand 

On a ground of priceless velvet, black, there sped 
The sparkling stars — fast driven by the wand 

Of night. While pale Aurora, flashing grandly high. 

Spreads a fan of glory 'cross the northern sky. 

Ruddy cheeks glow with the fire of pulsing life. 

Thrice-kissed by the frosty winter air; 
Sparkling eyes are dancing fast, with mischief rife. 

And vie the deep-set stars their task to share : 
While through the dark comes merry sound of bells — 
Bounded by exuberant girlish chorus swells. 

Like a phantom grim the schoolhouse through the night 
Looms hazily, with white the shivering eaves 

Where the silver moonbeams play with icy light. 
And freeze upon the panes in feathery leaves. 

But soon within a ruddy glow fills up the room. 

Banishing the winter chill and arctic gloom. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 13, 

Fast they come, with merry shout and stamp of foot, 
With cheery voice and red, half-frozen faces; 

Pounding knuckles, pinching nose, and kicking boot 
To force their chilled blood into its tingling places; 

And stand around the crackling pile of burning pines 

In the caverned grate, to heat their icy spines. 

Cheery voices hail each new-appearing swain. 
And boisterous laughter sounds upon the air 

As some merry jest or joke is told again 
About some bashful beau or luckless pair ; 

Recounting how the boom has broken in the flood. 

Smashing bridge and raging wild through gloom-lit wood. 



How the blood-mouthed wolf was pursued to his lair. 
Or how the red-man fierce betrayed his tribe. 

Listening, bold-eyed maidens puff their krinkled hair 
And give a tart reply to every sly-sent gibe; 

While shrill above this babble, like the clash of gongs. 

Rises the discord of the new-learnt backwoods songs. 



Heavy bassos gruffly mumble o'er the air. 
And tripling trebles catch the rude refrain. 

Shrilly mingling with the fire's sullen roar, 
Until the backwoods tales are told again: 

When soon a chuckling voice is heard above the rest, 

And the "Master" taps to put their lungs to test. 

Like a pack of playful clowns, the burly boys, 
With many awkward strides and curt grimaces. 

Take their separate books with boisterous noise. 
And then pretend that they've forgot their places. 

The master, jolly, full of nature's broader fun. 

Banters with his class to urge them quickly on. 



14 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Giggling low, with half-bold look from brightened eye, 
Or some with timid step and sly restraint. 

Trip the maidens to their seats, — the gallants sigh — 
And there they pucker up their lips in dimples quaint. 

The master nods his shining head in bursting pride ; 

Here are lasses worth many a zero ride. 

Dominie, dressed in costume 'couth and passing strange, 
With home-spun gray, and cravat broadly white, 

Tries to curb the riotous spirits of the range 
By rapping with the emblem of his might. 

His shadow, silhouetted dark against the wall, 

Like a floundering eagle from the rafters pall. 

Calmly glancing round upon the buoyant school, 

He selects a song, a relic of the war. 
Lifting high his wand, a three- foot blackboard rule, 

He would begin. They're wilder than before. 
It seems as though the chill of this crisp night 

Has filled their veins with bubbling nectars of delight. 
Protests are vain; and with the license of the strong, 
The master berates the singers loud and long: 

"Quit yer chaffinM 

Stop your laughin' ! 
Don't you see I'm almost mad? 

Johnny Eckers, 

Stop those snickers ! 
Or, be'gosh, I'll tell yer dad! 

Molly Bowder, 

Yew sing louder ! 
People like tew hear yer voice. 

And a bumpkin. 

Like a pumpkin, 
Thinks that yew air purty nice. 

Now, Joe Haskel, 

You sly rascal, 
Put away thet pipe at once ! 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 15 

Hi there, Billy ! 

Don't hug Tilly! 
Folks'll thiiJc thet you're a dunce! 

Now, together ! 

Let'er sliver ! 
Make a noise, and yell right stout! 

Look at me ! 

Now! One! Two! Three!"— 
And all too soon the school was out. 



i6 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE COBBLER 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy hammer goes. 
Tapping here and tapping there, the tiny pegs in double 
rows. 

Busily the fingers fly, 

Following the glance of eye; 

Turning seam and riveting, 

Smoothing clean and beveling; 

Honest, careful, noble, true. 

His wrinkled fingers work away 

Like busy elfins, all the day. 

And do whatever they find to do. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy hammer goes, 
Happy is the cobbler there, — he does not brood o'er 
rankling woes. 

How I love to watch him work ! 

Not a toe nor heel he'd shirk; 

True as steel, with heart of gold, 

As full of love as life will hold. 

His leather apron light is furled, 

Like rope around the capstan bar; 

He pleads for peace, he loves not war. 

And is at rest with all the world. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy hammer goes ; 
How the children crowd around, as they hear the 
thudding blows. 

They love to see the nimble stroke, 

They love that ancient hat and cloak; 

And round his littered bench they stand 

An eager, youthful, happy band. 

One chubby child climbs on his knee 



I 

i 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 17 

With confident and sunny smile, 
And then he tells them stories, while 
They listen in their childish glee. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy hammer goes; 
His furrowed forehead, wrinkled cheek, with worthy 
labor glows. 

A quiet man the cobbler is ; 

A lowly life, yet noble, his ; 

Working there and laboring, 

Each task an honest close to bring. 

His rough exterior, lowly mien. 

In dingy shop, and littered floor, 

Like diamond-clay with glittering core, 

Has hidden deep a soul within. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy hammer goes. 
While from the trembling, aged lips the song of boyhood 
flows. 

He forward looks to future grace, 

And hopes to see Him face to face. 

At night he hears the angels sing. 

Lists to the rustling of their wing. 

Like zephyrs soft from Italy's shore. 

The harp-songs make his heart rejoice ; 

He thrills to hear one souUfiUed voice. 

And fain would hearken evermore. 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, his busy hammer goes, 

The frosts of winter on his face and in his hair the snows. 

He sees again that dreary day 

His second soul did pass away; 

And following slowly, one by one, 

His loving children all have gone 

Like wilting flowers in the blast. 

Yet cheerful does he ply his trade. 

While memory-faces rise and fade 

Like phantoms from a happy past. 



1 8 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Tap, tap, tap, tap, the busy heart-beats go, 
Tapping off the hours of man, be he high or low. 

Thank thee, thank thee, aged man! 

Thy face is sear, thine eyes are wan. 

But through thy gentle Hfe thou'st wove 

Patience, calmness, hope and love; 

And thus should we, both old and young, 

Perform our duties hopefully. 

And nobly toil from day to day 

Contented, honest, tho unsung. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 19 



THE HOLLAND MOTHER 

She breathed a prayer, a sigh of hope, 

A wishful sob that with fear did cope, 

And through her future-turned prophet eyes 

She visioned for her child the myriad of joys 

That she fain would endow the sleeping babe 

That snuggled and cuddled in the tufted glebe. 

A prayer rose straight from that mother's breast 

And lodged on high where the angels rest, 

For her voice was sweet and soft and low. 

And thrilled with its yearnings in the firelight's glow; 

"Oh God," she whispered, "I ne'er would shirk 

The deeper pains, — just bless my work, 

And help me to fashion this unbruised soul 

So soon it may reach the noblest goal. 

And humbly, earnestly, God, I pray. 

Grant me strength to lead him each day, 

Meekly, gently at thy behest, 

Till he finds peace on Jesus' breast." 

And if there is a God that looks down from above, 

A Being that blesses a sweet mother's love. 

Then he paused in his toil on that summer's day 

And smiled a divine smile as He heard her pray. 

And Oh, I know that He blessed her then. 

And left a charm till He should come again ; 

For in all the world there is nought so mild 

As the prayer of a mother o'er her sleeping child. 

And nought in the world can such power impart 

As the Love that is couched in a good mother's heart. 



20 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



BY GAR, DAT TONY MAN 

By Gar! dat Tony Man, — 
He get my goat for sure ! 
He talk just like a pelican 
And sleep upon de floor. 
He naiver buy one leet Sheroot, 
And give his friend no treat, 
But just he take his leetle mon 
And gwan right down de street. 

By Gar, dat Tony Man, 

He naiver buy de beer ! 

But only drink his sugar wine 

When no one else is near. 

And when he eat da noonday lunch, 

My, wat a stingy bloke! 

A pinch of garlic on his bread, 

And macaron to choke. 

By Gar, dat Tony Man, 

He make me good and mad! 

He sing and yell like awful hell. 

And say he pretty glad. 

So when I ask what it's about 

He grins like mulliken ape, 

And says he soon will have his wife, 

And see his leetle bape. 

By Gar, dat Tony Man, 

I'd like to wring his neck! 

He wears old clothes like thirty cents. 

And looks worse than a Mick. 

Some day I get my dander up, 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 21 

And hit him with a brick 

He make me boil all through and through; 

Just watch me when I kick! 

By Gar! dat Tony Man, — 

What's dat? Man in de drink? 

Oh veil, if any chump can't swim 

Just let de ol' fool sink. 

Huh? What? It's Tony Man? 

And Tony, he can't swim? 

By Gar, get out, you bunch of waps,— 

You bet, we got save him! 

By Gar ! Save Tony Man, — 

Why he my only friend. 

He shout and sing mos' every day. 

My pal — ^you understand? 

So here I go, jump in de flume. 

What care I for de death; 

You bet I save dat Tony Man — 

If he still got his breath! 



22 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE BROKEN VIOLET 

Two little violets, dainty and sweet, 
Royal their color, and odor divine; 
Blossomed and grew, all hidden, secure. 
The happiest of flowers, most perfect design. 

Soon came two fond lovers, strolling in joy; 
He plucked one blossom, heaving a sigh; 
" 'Tis sweet as thy nature, soft as thy hair, 
Thy emblem, my playmate, as blue as thy eye." 

But the flower was broken at handling so rude, 
And the maid stooped and plucked the other bud there; 
The one she cherished, a token of love. 
The broken she placed with a pin in her hair. 

When at last she came to her dainty boudoir, 
The fair one was placed in the violet tray. 
While the other was plucked from out of her hair, 
And wilted, and broken, was soon cast away. 

Wilted and broken, with beauty all gone. 
Unnoticed and battered, its fragrance robbed; 
When the fair flower beheld it, a wreck of the past, 
Then its agony doubled, its flower-heart throbbed. 

And, alas ! all too quickly it too passed away, 

Its spirit vanished, its color soon fled ; 

For it loved its companion, its heart had been broken, 

Both souls were united, — both flowers were dead. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 23 



OUR CLOCK GOLF DAYS 
In memory of Seabreeze, Florida 

iSweet days of yore, of peace and happiness. 

Days of joy and rapt content, 

I love you for your memories. 

Your friendships, pals, and loves that bless; 

And dreams that must be heaven-sent. 

I love your nooks beside the stream, 
Your Clock Golf course upon the green, 
Your skies that shrive me in my dream. 
Your shores that with tall palm trees teem 
Sunkissed through the river's sheen. 

Ah, could I wafted be again, 
And hear the yrords of friendly praise, 
The echoing cheer adown the main. 
The saunter through the shaded lane. 
And live again those happy days! 



24 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



IN CHAINS 

Italian Skies and Italian Seas 

Locked are the chains, the bands applied, 

And bound and manacled and tied. 

Yes, bound the minds, the heart, the soul. 

For here 'tis nought but grind and toil, — 

But grind! Shy art is crucified! 

And Hope — Ah, Lethe is but its goal! 

My spirit soars above the skies. 

Above the trees, above the spires 

Of gloom-filled churches, canting squires. 

And world-weary knowledge, which is never wise. 

Away the dare of gross to-day. 

The torrid strife for petty pelf. 

The scandal-tongue, serpents who prey. 

And scorpions who sting all else save self! 

I lothe the touch of the hypocrite, 

The smile of Satan in the eye. 

The maudlin chant of the Holy Writ 

That turns and sneers at the fine Soul's cry; 

The rose that blooms with a worm in its heart, 

The flaring lily with death in its cup, — 

I hate them all. These bonds must part 

And time must give its memories up; 

For my heart has flown, ah, far away, 

Far, far beyond the threatening sea, 

Where dwells the hopes of yesterday, 

That ne'er can filter back to me. 

But the Italian air and Italian trees. 

With their quaint black shapes 'gainst the cobalt sky! 

The Italian birds on the Italian breeze. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 25 

And the scents of elysium from on high! 

The mirrored seas and the hidden bays 

Where dreamers spend their aircastle days, 

Where lovers dwell in blest content 

And treasured faith is heaven-sent! 

A cottage 'neath a rustic arch, 

A batteau waiting on the shore, — 

Here seasons lag their onward march 

And ships return — ah, nevermore. 

Ah, nevermore do ships return 

To steal away love's paradise ; 

For here, in sooth, the love-fires bum 

Deep down in heart's true sacrifice. 

A vision think you of a dream? 

A poet's dream of heart's ideal? 

Ah, no ; 'tis there, both true and real ; 

All things are real if but they seem. 

I fain would thrust these bonds away. 

And tear apart this chafing band — 

Dear God in Heaven ! — 'Tis but a day 

Then Dream-souls fly to poet's land. 



26 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



POLITICS 

You call me vile — 

And yet, and yet, my face is wreathed in a win- 
some smile. 
While my heart is hung 
With a wreath, wide flung, 
Which flaunts and flutters on the barren soil. 

You call me sad — 

And yet, and yet, m}' vote has made the pauper 

glad; 
With a lavish hand 
I move the wand 
Of spoils, — and, lo, the world goes mad! 

You call me gross — 

And yet, and yet, my nature soars above the dross 

Like a flower of worth 

O'er the reeking earth. 

Is the seed and earth a gruesome loss? 

You call me "graft"— 

And yet, and yet, perfume of pleasure on breezes 

waft. 
I undertake where others cower. 
Nor wait I for the opportune hour. 
What boots it clings Tribute- to my pirate craft? 

Time calls me "good," 

And sees the heart deep in my wood; 

Through the radial lines 

True nature shines. 

And the future world partakes the *food. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 27 



PROHIBITION 

I heard the wail of the starving child, 

And came to give it bread ; 
I heard the sob of a mother's voice, 

Who crouched on the floor in dread, 
While the beer-filled brain of the sodden man 

Caused sorrow in that hut, 
As he wrecked the beds of the shivering babes, 

And struck his wife his ire to glut. 
And I halted the terrors of that night. 

And restored the hope to that eye, 
I gave back the brain that had taken its flight. 

Gave back the soul that had begun to die. 

For years I stood outside the gate 

Awaiting the entering call, 
Until God's woman ^ heard my voice, 

And foresaw the Nation's fall, 
Then she girded the armor of mother love 

Upon that form divine. 
And struck the battle-note to prove 

That the better way is mine. 
She raised the Cross of Jesus high. 

And caused foul drink to flee, 
And Satan's host shall ne'er return 

As long as you have me. 

I chose the Nation sent by God 

To free the human slaves; 
I chose the land that had felt the rod 

Of Thieves, and shame, and Knaves; 
I chose the Country founded by folk 

Who lived the life of Faith, 

1 Frances E. Willard. 



28 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Who first stepped out upon the Rock 

And trod ReHgion's path; 
America ! The land of hope, 

Where we laud its better men, 
I took that land and made it clean, — 

Dare ye make it dirt again? 

I gave back the brain that wine had stolen, 

The brain that beer had robbed; 
I gave back the home that alcohol 

Had wrecked, — where mothers sobbed; 
I broke the bands of Demon Rum, 

And cracked the bowl on the bar, 
I set up Faith upon yon hearth 

That it would return no more. 
I broke the cup that steals man's brain. 

That weakens your daughter's will. 
That brings Her shame upon Your name, — 

And can you love it still? 

Away, Oh puny lust of man! 

Oh selfish, misguided soul! 
When you lead me back to the outer gate 

The grave is but your goal. 
Bring back the wine upon the stand, 

The tankards upon the plates. 
And the Nation trembles in its path 

For the enemy within your gates. 
Already has it robbed you of your power 

To do the things for God; 
And God has placed within your grasp 

The one great ruling rod. 

Throw me away — ^you turn your face 
Back towards the early dawn; 

And soon you wade again in crime — 
Your early vision gone; 

Turn me away and all the hopes 
Of future gain have fled; 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 29 

The Nation's fame will be its shame, 

And its morals will be dead. 
But hold me tight enshrined in your heart, 

And I lift you to the skies, 
For the love of all the unborn Souls, 

I alone can make you rise! 



30 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



DESPAIR 

'^Prohibition Must not be Repealed'^ 
Words of a desperate mother 

What ? End Prohibition ? 

May God prevent that day 
When the evil appetites of men 

Will steal my home away, 
When the comforts of my declining years 

Are torn from out my grasp, 
And leave me poor and weak, alone. 

With the sting of a poison asp. 
Oh, must my dreams of a happy hearth 

All vanish in thin air? 
You steal the bread from my baby's mouth, — • 

Don't drive me to despair! 

In the name of Christ, O, drinking man, 

I pray you pause awhile; 
This morning when I saw the sun 

My lips had formed a smile, 
My heart had sung the song of love 

That welled up in my heart, 
And the love of All, both great and small. 

Was of my Hfe a part. 
But by your attempt to bring back rum 

You dim my vision fair. 
You burn the altar I have raised, — 

You drive me to despair. 

For years in rags I walked the streets 
And begged my man to come; 

For years he drank his weekly wage 
And wrecked our hovel home; 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 31 

My babies cried with frightened eye, 

When they heard his drunken walk, 
No clothes had they, but rags and filth, 

And life was but a mock. 
Then came the law which brought the light, 

That raised us from wan care; 
Then came the Hope from out the night, — 

Can you bring back Despair? 

I drained the ocean of its gall, 

I combed of bitterness the sky. 
And from it all I wrought the chain 

Of Faith that can not die; 
And on the brow of future babes 

I poured the incense pure 
Of chastity and soberness — 

The Race that must endure. 
My trembling hands but grasp the brink 

Of the Future everywhere, — 

You DARE not drive me back again 

To the pit of deep despair! 

Oh, victim of low profit's greed, 

Oh baser lust for gain. 
Would you thrust back the hands of Time, 

And break the golden chain 
That holds the minds of man in leash 

And spurs them on to higher 
Ground than e'er were trod by foot, 

Their Soul's growth to inspire? 
Would you then halt the urge of man 

Unto the nobler goal 
That poets vision in the dawn, 

And thoughts that raise the Soul? 

You can not turn the hands of Time 

Back to the years far gone; 
You can not break the things god made 

Because they please yq^ none; 



32 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

The Wheel of Time breaks down old things 

And ever brings the New, 
The crime of Drink is forever dead; 

The Grace of Soberness view. 
A craven soul pretends to stand 

Upon the brink of care, — 
But you are Men, so stand like Men, 

We must not now despair. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 33 



THE WHISPERERS 

Ah, the Whisperers ! The skulking snakes 
That infest the places of public pride, 
The knowing looks of sarcastic makes. 
The false-face smirks with pus inside; 
The scandal-mongers in the church 
Who plunge the daggers in the back, 
Fawn in your face, but your name be- 
smirch, — 
Unchristian, unholy, vile, the lack 
Of any Soul within the crackling shell 
They call the heart, but in its place 
Most loathsome evil, nauseous smell 
Exudes each pore and smears the face. 
The whisperers! Why were they 

made 
To poison the world with their horrid 

tongue ? 
For they thrust their venom in every glade, 
And mingle the most honest men among, 
God ! — How we abhor when once we find 
The secret envy of the spell; 
Would to Heaven all Whisperers 
Were sent below where Lucifer fell! 



34 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



REVERIE 

I wish I were a swallow swift, 
And had the swallow's wings, 

I'd fly far out toward heaven's blue arch, 
And trill my morning songs. 

A nightingale I wish I were. 

Or yet a heavenly dove; 
Oh, rapturous songs would fill the air, — 

I'd fly toward heaven's love. 

Oh, would I were a tiny fish. 

And swam the briny deep. 
To delve in ocean's mysteries 

And God's great secrets keep. 

Were I an odorous, fragile flower 

Of grace divinely blest, 
I'd scent the ways of weary souls, 

Caress the ones that rest. 

And if I were an angel white. 

With harp of gold in hand, 
I'd soar toward God's Eternal Throne, 

Tuning chords sublimely grand. 

Then the thought came like a vision, 
Sweet peace then entered my mind; 

I felt the presence of my own dear Savior 
And these words of tr^uth I retained: 

Why long for that which we can not? 
Why desire? — we can not attain! 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 35 

God placed us here for a purpose, 
And Christ will come again. 

Look, look, oh mortal, about thee; 

Take heed of stranger and friend ; 
Thy purpose in life far grander is 

Than the desires thou hast named. 

Man was made in God's image, 

A worker for Heavenly fame; 
Low earthly pleasures but shadows are 

Scarce known in Heaven by name. 

Though thy life may be scorched by Life's 
lightnings, 

And thunders resounding may move, 
Fierce wild winds and fiends may threaten, — 

Yet all will be peace Above. 

Do thy noblest on earth here, Oh mortal ! 

Nor long for other vain bliss ; 
For thy duty will bring thee glory 

Of God's Eternal Peace. 



36 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SPRING 

"Awake ! the warbling robin said, 
And gave his cry, and bobbed his head, 
As though his tiny heart within 
Contained all the balm of spring. 

"Awake! Awake!" was echoed far; 
Came trembling back from Spring-time's star, 
Arousing bud and branch and tree, 
And made the heavenly hollows ring. 

"Awake !" the crows cawed, flying high, 
Like floating dots far in the sky; 
And flapped with glee from south to north. 
With scent of summer on their wing. 

"Awake!" the balmy south wind sighed, 
And kissed the slumbering earth, its bride; 
When soon the chill of winter broke, 
And love, and joy, and life awoke. 
Then Spring was here. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 37 



OCTOBER 

The golden sun is fading fast, 
Its pervert rays that, slanting slow, 
Have lost their kiss, now coldly touch 
The withered trellis dropping low. 

The clambering vine is tinged with red, 

And all about the distant wood 

A haze has settled on the trees, 

As though the days had donned a shroud. 

The crimson flash of trembling leaves, 
And flecks of gold are here and there; 
With brown and green on every shrub, 
And misty grey high in the air. 

The flowers are withering, one by one; 
The birds are homeward flying; 
And e'en the dew-flecked meadow-land 
Turns seer and dry and dying. 

But the barns are full, and the hay is pressed, 
The silo is filled o'er-flowing; 
All wheat is threshed, and garnered the corn, 
And the pumpkins look so knowing. 

A dreamy haze spreads o'er the land. 
While a rest spreads o'er the mind; 
'Tis October time; 'tis peace for all, 
For Dame Nature has been kind. 

And so in our life the autumn comes 
With its memories of cherished store. 
While a lingering haze spreads o'er our age, 
And our hopes are forgotten lore. 



38 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE FACE IN THE CAR WINDOW 

She nodded and smiled and a light filled her eye, 

And a message was flashed which throttled my sigh; 

And that message will remain a sweet mystery, 

As I wonder what she meant when the car went by. 

A strange little mischief, with twinkles in the deep, 

A dancing and lurking of wide, sunny wiles. 

With flash of her teeth, and a toss of her head 

She saw my quick gaze, and she returned it with smiles. 

And that glance from her eyes, and the sunny "Good 

Day,'' 
Tho flashed fnom a window as the car rolled away. 
Will lighten my work and brighten my play 
For weeks and for months, and will bless me for aye. 

Ah, how oft just a smile can thrdttle a sigh, 
A stranger's broad laughter can make our pains fly; 
I have learned a deep lesson — which the world can try — 
From the face in the window as the car passed by. 



I 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 39 



HOPE 

I stood at my low western window 
And gazed o*er the slime-covered sea 
Of waste and mouldering- swamp-lands 
Which covered the wind-blown lee. 

I noted the morbid dry rice grass, 
Low-trampled by wind and by rain; 
And beheld the rotting black carrion, 
As though a rank drift from the main. 

Afar, through the hazy grey mistings, 
A dot in the malarial sea, 
Were the faint and but shadowy outlines 
Of a lonely and scraggy pine tree; 

And it looked like a spectre of midnight, 
A spectre with ghastly black arms, 
Which was beckoning frantic wild gestures, 
And waving its gruesome alarms. 

The dank smells of the misty low swamp-lands. 
The odors of age and decay, 
Were like catacombs of the far Rome-land, 
Or the fetor of Maleboge. 

Thus I stood as I gazed o'er the waste land. 
With my spirits both saddened and low, 
For my heart was sore pained and weary 
By the despair of my terrible woe; 



40 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

By the loss of my dearly beloved, 

The loss of my pretty young bride, 

Who this morning looked happy and smiling, j 

Stood clinging with love to my side. 1 

But e'er Solus had journeyed his distance, 
Half passing rash Phaeton's zone. 
By the Fates she was snatched from the daylight, 
And sank senseless with agonized groan; 

Sank calling my name in her terror. 
Sank praying for heavenly aid 
That the blessing of wifehood might save her 
From Hera's most envious blade. 

But denied was her fervid complaining. 
Death struck her with icy cold hand; 
And her pure clinging angel-like spirit 
Took flight to a holier land. 

And now vainly there stood I and watching, 
Stood watching the far, far away; 
And dreaming of Beatrice in heaven, 
Who was torn from my side this sad day; 

And I prayed then aloud for the courage ; 
And agonized tears were fast shed ; 
For my heart lay crushed in that coffin 
Which covered my loved one, dead. 

When sudden the heavens were brightened, 
The lowering clouds were quick blessed. 
And a ray of the soft western sunlight 
Lay molten like gold on my breast. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 41 

For a moment the heavens seemed doubting, 
For an instant the misting pressed low, 
But the powers of gloom were soon vanquished, 
And the distance all flamed with a glow 

Like the glory of the transfiguration 
When the light of the heavens met earth, 
And bestowed on its drivelling low dwellers 
A halo of Eternity's worth. 

And bathed in that light was my body ; 
My soul absorbed its warm ray ; 
For the omen I knew was from Beatrice 
Returning from glorified way; 

Returning to strengthen her mourner. 
Returning to whisper sweet cheer; 
And ennoble his life by her presence — 
A presence unseen but yet near. 

Then a rest came soft o'er my heart-beats; 
My spirit within me grew calm; 
Soft tinklings of angel's sweet music 
Upon my sad soul gave its balm; 

And from out of that glad golden sunlight, 
From out of that flaming bright ray 
Shall my soul lift up to my God-head 
And trusting strive onward for aye. 



42 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE WEAVER 

Wearily the weaver whirled his wheel, 

Slowly the heavy shuttles flew, 
Dully the staff clanked on the reel, 

Which growled and squeaked as though it knew 
That the light had gone 
With the early dawn, 
The light of his life, his Prue. 

All day he sat with a hardened heart, 

Not a word or look gave he. 
While now and then rose a groan or a start, 
And a wrench of the trembling knee; 
And not a hum 
Came from the drum 
Of the lagging, languid, clanking tree. 

Slowly sank the lurid sun. 

And slowly the twilight came, 
The shadows lengthened one by one. 
Yet he would not breathe her name; 
But his aged eyes 
Were dimmed with sighs 
That convulsed his shrinking death-touched frame. 

*'Curse thee ! no longer my daughter Prue !" 

The heart would burst its bound. 
And he raised his hand toward the fading blue 
Of the homespun scattered round; 
While the creaking loom, 
Dull thing of Doom, 
Gave out its rumbling, grinding sound. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 43 

But Time doth press with a softening palm 

Upon the heart of stone, 
And through his breast there shot a qualm, 
And through his throat a moan; 
He thought of the days 
Of her winning ways, 
While to-day he drudged alone. 

"Go to the window, good wife, go, 

And see if she doth return; 
My head is heavy, my hand is slow, 
And the drum doth slowly turn"; 
His voice is weak, 
And furrowed his cheek. 
But his eyes with restless fevers burn. 

He wot not that his bride, long dead, 
Knew nought of his hapless plight; 
His mind was dim, and reason fled. 
But he muttered through the night; 
For his child's return 
A dip did burn 
Her returning path to light. 

"No, father, no," a ghost-wraith calls, 

"Not a sign 'gainst the darkening sky, 
Naught but the gloom of forest walls, 
And the tongues of the glow on high." 
Lower his head, 
As though it were lead. 
Droops to his work, and he stifles a cry. 

The wind without gives a moaning sound, 

Like the sob of a sleeping child; 
And the tall dark pines press swaying round 
As the wood wails its dirges wild; 
And in the deep 
Where wolf-dogs creep. 
Haunt the owls, from hope exiled. 



44 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Within 'tis cold, for the sun has set, 

And the sky is a darkening gray, 
Painfully the weaver is weaving yet, 
And his loom still clanks away; 
But his work is pain 
As he strikes again 
The shuttle slow, on its grumbling way. 

His gray-stringed head he lifts again 
And in vain he pierces the gloom 
Which is closing in at the window pane. 
And is filling the barren room; 
But his eyes are weak, 
So he tries to speak 
As he drops the bar of his tired loom. 

"Again to the window, good sprite, go. 

And see if she doth not come, 
My dying heart is filled with woe; 
I would that she were at home." 
With anguished cry 
He pressed his eye. 
And gazed o'er the endless wood- fringed loam. 

"No, father, no," his fears respond, 
"But hope, — she will soon return; 
The Iroquois' camp is just beyond. 
And their feast fires lowly burn. 
At the dawn of day 
She will come away 
To the home that she yet doth yearn. 

Darker and darker the falling night ; 

Fierce puffs the rushing breeze; 
But all is dead to his ageing sight, 
For his blood has begun to freeze; 
And a dirge is sung 
By the forest tongue, — 
A dirge by the shivering trees. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 45 

The silence of death hovers o^er the place. 
For though hard and stern is the mind 
The love of a life will show on a face, 
And the pulse will throb for its kind. 
And the struggle was long 
For he quivered at wrong, 
But the heart will melt when 'tis blind. 

As red as the blood of the Iriquois, 

As lurid as fires of hell, 
A threatening cloud drives o'er the sky 
And rests where the Iroquois dwell; 
Then melted his heart 
And with fear doth he start, 
And a sob,^he pleads for her well. 

With the darksome night the fiends let loose, 

And the ghosts of Evil throng 
Adown the path that the legend moose 

Doth stalk the caverns of the graves among. 
The storm-swept trees 
Bend to their knees, 
And even the hills their hearts have wrung. 

The sound of the raging strikes his ear. 
And with eager hand he brushes the tear, 
And bends his head as though to hear 
The tramp of the winds on their way. 

"Hark, is not that she who rides so wild, 
Like the rush of the fiends across the plain? 
My daughter, Prue, Oh daughter, my child ! 
Return to your father, your father, again!" 
With the sweat of death upon his brow 
He cries for his child, forgets his vow, 
But the wild dashing branches but scream and i&way 
And he totters, stunned with his pain. 

And swift as the frown 'cross a somber face 
The wind ishifts to the north : 



46 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And cold and grim, — to sleet, — to ice. 
The blizzard breath pours icily forth: 
While keen the night; 
From black to white 
The crystal gnomes have proved their worth. 



Adown the bristling forest trail 
A stumbling form doth creep; 
An anguished moan of small avail 
As she totters in a heap; 
A shivering form, 
A trembling worm, 
Bare crawling through the snow knee-deep. 

*'Oh, God, I pray to lead me on 

Until I reach his door." 
She staggers up, sunk cheeks and wan, 
And stumbles as before, 
Till by degrees 
Upon her knees 
Her will can drag no more. 

And as she drops low on the snow 
With one despairing sigh. 
Her hopeless eye she lifts, — then lo! 
She sees a candle light is nigh; 

New life is thrust. 

To move she must. 
For her frozen limbs are filled with joy. 

''My home !" she cries in thrilled alarm, 

"My father's house is near. 
And he awaits with open arm 

To give his wayward daughter cheer." 
With deep agony 
She forces her way, 
Her heart half -cursed with fear. 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 47 

By ruse had she slunk from the Indian camp 

Where a bride that month she had come 
To mate the chief 'gainst her father's will, 
And to make his tent her home; 
But her daughter-love 
Too strong did prove, 
So by stealth by night had she dared her doom. 

But her failing strength had suffered much, 

And like a stricken dove on wing 
That at the arrow's piercing touch 

Falls low, revives, shocked, trembling. 
Still vainly tries 
In its agonies 
Still farther on its form to fling, 

So thrust she on in frenzy blind. 

The candle glow a beacon before. 
The raging snows beside, behind, 
A sad spent form she reached the door 
And fell there prone 
Unsought, alone, 
From thence to rise no more. 

A shivering sigh escaped her lip, 

A sigh of heaven lost; 
In the frozen air her finger tip 

Bare touched the latchstring, tossed 
By the frenzied wind 
In its blast unkind. 
Just out of reach, — ^Ah, Lord, the cost! 

Just out of reach, the haven home 

Of one who would return; 
Just out of reach, the cheerful room 
Where love fires for us burn. 
Yet oft doth life 
Place one thin knife 
'Twixt them that laugh and them that mourn. 



48 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And oft indeed we would repent 
When repentance comes too late, 
And love that once with compassion blent, 
Has later turned to hate; 
While we dallied slow 
Soon must we go, 
And we crawl unsaved to the steps of fate. 

At our father's house the light still shines 

For the wayward prodigal, 
But our lagging strength oft dies betimes 
And e'er we return we fall 
Like a fluttering leaf 
From out the sheaf 
Of times,' — and we're lost beyond recall; 

So on that porch the thin form lay 

Soon covered by swirling snow 
Which piled its mantle lavishly 
Upon the dying girl as though 
It fain would hide 
The fallen bride 
Of the Iroquois, and her woe. 

■ • « • • C«l 

'Tis near the dawn, and all is black. 

Not a flicker breaks through the cloud; 
On the steps a form cold in her track, — 
In the cottage a gathering shroud ; 
All night he had spun 
But his task is done. 
And the specters of death around him crowd. 

A quavering groan sounds through the gloom 

At the dawn of that dismal day, 
And a gurgling sob palls on the room 
As the weaver tries to pray. 
But his parched throat 
Re-echoes the note 
Of the loom that has died away — for aye. 



i 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 49 

Morning gray bespeaks the day; 
The loom has ceased its sound; 
No woof upon the treadbar lay, 
And the warp is scattered round; 
While the storm has died 
Like the weaver's pride, 
And the winds kiss the shrouded ground. 

The stick rests dead in the bloodless hand. 

And the drum has groaned its wo, 
And the weaver stares with desert mind, 
He has dropped the bobbintoe; 
For his soul has fled. 
And o'er his head 
Hang the wraiths of his hopeless woe; 

While the candle stick on the window sill 

Is black and dead and cold, 
For the waning spark had sucked its will 
And would be dark for years untold; 
The frosted glass 
Let no light pass 
For the specters of Death doth the place enfold. 

While the dead within and the dead without 

Await the sun of day. 
The Soul's last flight into the night 
Must mingle on the way. 
And up through space 
In that higher place 
Together come, — ^yes, come for aye. 

God pity them both, and guard the ones 

We fain would amply prove ; 
Protect our daughters and our sons 
Through all the paths they move; 
And in the end. 
Oh God, unbend. 
And bless with thy Eternal love. 



50 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SHIP AHOY! 

'Tis night on the Atlantic and far out at sea 
The smooth-rolling billows sigh musically, 
And the calm of the air, with silence serene, 
Gives hope to the pilot who w^histles away ; 
While the staunch little craft responds to the swell, 
Like the dip of the daisy to the wind in the dell. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

But obscured is the moon by a driving dark cloud, 
And the tiny bright stars in the velvet-black sk\- 
Seem to glitter and twinkle and put on a shroud, — 
For the demon of darkness is swift drawing nigh; 
And the skipper is worried, the vessel sails slow, 
For the calm is intense, and the mercury low. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

Now sudden the skipper ascends to the bridge, 
For the drop of the glass betokens a storm, 
Then the tones of command sound harsh down the ridge, 
And the clang of the bell screams out the alarm : 
Now frantic it rises, now sobbing and soft, 
While the startled mid-deckmen climb frightened aloft. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

The moan of the ocean has doubled its power. 
But the woe of the winds has stifled its sighs, 
And portentous banks of driven clouds lower. 
While the low-flying albatross hushes its cries; 
When quick, with the shriek of a million lost souls, 
The storm-king is on them. The storm-bell tolls, 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 151 

In the trough of old ocean the Petrel is sent 
Midst creaking of hawser and thundering of sail, 
And the masts in the center like whip-cords are bent 
And groan in a frenzy at the rush of the gale; 
While above and around it, more furious and faster, 
Howl the imps of the darkness and wraiths of disaster, 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

High heavens are falling with deafening roar; 
With sharp, jagged fires asunder they spread; 
And tumultuous torrents up skyward now bore 
To crush the small vessel in its turbulent bed; 
When quickly with terror it rights from behind. 
And the ship is now dashing before the wild wind. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

With shrieks and with screams and with demoniac laughter 
The hurricane tumbles the vessel about; 
With flapping of canvas and ripping of rafter 
To the ears of the shipmen an agonized shout 
Is borne from the leeward. A cry of dismay 
Comes down through the darkness and then dies away, 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

Superstitious the sailors, with frightened white faces, 
Some rush to the pilot, and trembling they stare : 
" 'Tis the Wanderer" they stutter, and cling to their places. 
For the chill is upon them, and death in the air; 
When again the wild shriek down the winds of the sea, — 
'Twas a cry of despair and mad agony, — 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

With awed faces and ghastly, weird voices they hear; 
They remember the tales of the "Dutchman" who flies ; 
And in the dread of the sailors they cower in fear, — 
For 'tis death to the shipman who hears those wild cries. 
And the rigging still rattles, and furious the sound 
Of the dull grinding crashing of the billows around. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 



52 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

On the wings of tornadoes the mad waves rave past, 
And the scud on the masthead gives ominous sign ; 
With the roar of a cannon the sail parts the mast, 
And the hull plunges deep in the harsh-swirling brine. 
Like a straw it is tossed, while the mountains crowd high, 
O'er-topped by the foam which they scrape from the sky. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

Up shoots the hull swiftly, with shiver and groan. 
At the moment when weirdly there echoes that cry, 
Now near and now distant, a screech and a moan. 
The sound of the doomed which pierces the sky. 
And the sailors are staring with atrophied fear 
To behold that dread phantom which is hovering near. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

To the lee they are gazing, and tense are their faces; 
The green dizzy billows roll up like a wall. 
(Black Death is most bitter In horrible places) 
Like a monster they follow, they hang like a pall 
Above and around, — a green demon of doom, 
And dismal the depths, and yawning the tomb. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

Fast and still faster the gale blows the vessel; 
Harsh and still harsher rise terrified cries; 
Black and still blacker the night which they wrestle ; 
High and still higher the seething foam flies ; 
Near and still nearer comes the shuddering wail, 
'Till they behold in their terror a wraith at their rail ! 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

And the darkness Is lit by a flash from a cloud 
Which illumines the frenzy of the tempest-tossed sea: 
The rough rigging rattles, the thunders roll loud, 
While the maddened, churned waters rush over the lee; 
And the men gaze in fear at the ghastly chill sight 
Of the face in the abyss as it cries in its fright, 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 53 

"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" They shake off their terror 
Which had chained up their limbs, and had frozen their 

blood. 
Some spring to the rail to redeem their sad error, 
For a mortal is struggling with the Fiend of the Flood. 
"Man overboard ! Man overboard !" With frantic dismay 
They throw out a buoy, but it dashes away! 

"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

"Out with the lines!" and, "Out with the life-boat!" 
With the strength of distraction they would brave those 

fierce waves; 
But o'er the roar of the tempest the captain gives orders, 
" 'Twould be madness ! The seeking of watery graves !" 
And the cry is now fainter, and vanished the face. 
Displaced by the storm-howls, the hurricane's race. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

On rushes the vessel on the wings of the gale. 
But that glimpse of the face, disheveled with spume, 
Will e'er be remembered, and a last sobbing wail 
Like the sound of a soul thrust out to his doom 
Comes down on the wind and hovers above — 
Despairing and hideous, a voice from the grave, — 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

'Tis heard for a moment, that gasp of despair; 
'Tis mixed with the screech of the demon's dread shout, 
It rests on the masthead and hovers in air, 
Then is swallowed in the crash of the avalanch about. 
And the shipmen, they stagger with wide-staring eyes. 
For each shriek is the echo of those heart-rending cries. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 



54 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

'Twas morn on the Atlantic and far out at sea 
The^ undulating billows roll musically, 
And the calm of the air, with silence serene, 
Gave courage to the shipmen who beheld the bright day ; 
While the dismantled Petrel responds to the swell 
Like the roll of the clapper in an iron-tongued bell. 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!" 

And stretched on old ocean's abysmal bed, 
Having struggled with death, crying "Ship ahoy!" 
Is the form of a being, cold, ghastly and dead. 
A sad mother is lonely, and weeps for her boy. 
While the melancholy muse seems to hover in air, 
And the sobbing sea murmurs that threne of despair, 
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy I" 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES SS 



ODE TO THE SAGINAW 

Flow on, thou muddy stream with melancholy gloom, 

And haunted by the spirits of thy strife! 

On and on thy broadening waters flow, 

Even far unto the wraith of the waters blue beyond, 

Where, like the soul of man, the life 

Of mortals merging into the flow of Time Eternal, 

Thou art merged, and faded, and lost. 

And swallowed up in the pure cold floods 

Of the calm and soothing lake. 

On and on flow, until the gods 
Of storms bend low and lift thy misty form 
Unto the quiet skies, to be there driven 
In the maddened presence of long-gone warriors. 
Who bivouaced on thy murmuring banks, and, filled 
Complete with restless spirit of the tribe, 
Rush hence in chaos, rumbling fiery paths 
Across the desolate heavens, until the burst 
Of fiends awake the earth in fierce 
And drenching displays upon the seething pines, 
And strike the awed living with thy terrors ; 
Or, perchance, drop like gentle blessings 
From the hand of the Eternal One 
Upon the sere and thirsting fields below, — 
The curled corn, the drooping rye, and crackling wheat,- 
All dry and parched for thy gentle kiss, — 
And make them green and succulent again. 
While the tiny phoebe gives its plaintive cry 
In tender ministerings to its peeping young. 
And, in peace the kine go full-fed to pastured glen; 
While the rustic home, long-dead to strife 
And weirdly-chanted warriors songs, 



56 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Becomes again the lasting bode of joy, 
Revived and blessed thrice by thy imperial gift. 

Steadily, silently, slowly thou movest, O River, 
O'er thy once more riotous, turbulent bed ! 
Now thou art quiet, nor gives the murmuring ripple 
One voice to tell of the multitudinous early dramas 
That startled thy oozing banks, and spread thy sides 
In gaping wounds, as o'er thy sullen breasts 
The ghostly birch did glide, and disappear, — 
To be the wraith of many a dismal scene, 
And angry war-fires gleamed their threatening rays 
Between the spectre trees, while high above 
Most awesome ghouls would dance and chant 
Their direful dirges in the dank and dungeon gloom, 
To rouse the ghosts of long departed warriors from 
Their mouldering graves, and join the treacherous throng. 
Ottawa tribes with weird and loathsome task; 
And soon again the stealthy Iroquois; 
And then anon through dawning of the trees 
The early settler dared to press within 
Thy mystic solitudes, and brave thy 'stonished wrath. 

But now thou art dumb. Thy waves are mute. 
And even the mighty walls that rose with harsh 
And rasping noises on thy once wild banks, 
Are falling low again, in mute decay. 
While from the dark and caverned depths of some 
Sequestered glade I seem to hear a wail 
Which sobs the last low requiem of the past. 
That made the solitudes alive with strident man 
W^o churned thy crystal bowels and grandly rode 
The fallen monarch of the wilds adown thy breast. 
All are dead, and following, too, the later tribe, 
New-bom upon the ashes of the old, 
And living through desires of the tongue ; 
And soon, alas, the newer dawn of happier hope 
Shall pass away, and fade, and be no more ; 
For earthly things may live, may grow, and rise, 



BALLADS AND SKETCHES 57 

But born of man, must reach to death at last; 

While, thou, O stream, wilt flow ceaseless 

On and on, without an end, 

Forever and forever, making the trembling grass 

Green again with newer life, and quench 

The parching thirst of myriad-unborn tribes, 

Till they again will sink into the cool 

Dark earth, and be like to the clod 

From whence they sprang — unknown, mysterious 

Sentries of the eternal march of time. 

Yet ceaseless wilt thou flow, stream of hope, 

Until thy curving banks and reed-boughed sides 

Shall, like a faithful soul, remain to be 

The emblem of a life well spent in noble toil; 

And in thy dimming age, centuries having passed, 

Shalt thou dream along unconfined 

And hoary with the nobleness of work well done, 

Gliding smooth into the everlasting calm 

Of sanctified rest. — 

But not to die. 
For the trumpet-cry of yon new stars' creation 
Shall sound thee to a resurrection 
Far flung from lethe of age; for pulse 
Shall bound again within thy veins — 
The pulse of youth revived, and startled 
Into feverish joy of service pure which guides 
Thee ever to the might of that one power divine 
But not omnipotent, thou shalt flow on again. 
As of yore, until the dome of time shall sound 
No more, and heaven's arch shall fall. 
For, O mighty stream, as the soul 
Returns to youth from a former sphere, 
And dying ever seeks its higher end, 
Shalt thou go and live, a youth renewed — 
A murmuring brook, a stream, and mighty waters, — 
And ever flow — without end. 

Flow on and on, thou stream of life. 
And never bend at weaker will. 



58 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Nor halt afraid, nor turn nor dwell 
Where aught but duty calls, until 
The eons of time and wrecks of strife 
Attune thy work to grandest power — 
The guardians of the sacred hour 
When life and death shall meet at last — 
And from its aged bed shall spring 
Another youthful sparkling stream, which cast 
Its spray of crystal more and more 
Far out and far, until the wing 
Of Time shall fall, and o'er and o'er 
The fartherest space shall be 
Endless life — Eternity. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 

GOOD NIGHT 

The evening breezes are gently blowing; 

They echo the warble of the drowsy blue-bird; 
In pasture and barnyard the kine are now lowing, 

And the wail of the whip-poor-will weirdly is heard: 
'Tis the hour of vespers, when all is still; 
When Phoebus resigns to Somnus's will, 
And Dreamland's revery in fancies thrill. 

Good night, Eola, dear heart, good night! 

The tall linden is rustling in a low, sweet murmur, 
A deep sigh for the dreams of the days long past; 
It breathes a prayer with quivering tremor. 
And drowsily nods in the caressing blast: 
Its aroma, the incense of nature's sweet balm, 
The censer of silence, makes redolent calm. 
And as acolyte of Nature now chants a low psalm. 
Good night, sweet loved one, Eola, good night! 

The melodious brook, with low gurgle and bubble. 
Reflects the dark leaves of the aspens above ; 

Still gathering the gold from the sunlight's fair double. 
Secretes it in caskets of bark in the grove: 

Tis a-weary with dancing; its ripplings now falter; 

It glides calm and still o'er the moss-hidden altar, 

Soft-lulled to its dreams by yon low-whispered psalter. 
Good night, my fair one, Eola, good night! 

Now hushed and silent the moss-greened mill-wheel ; 

All wrapped in deep slumber white pond-lilies dream ; 
Below foaming mill-dam the brook forms a f roth-weel 

To whirl elfin skiffs down yon silver-flecked stream. 

01 



62 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

The lengthening shadows gloom ivy and gable, 
And, purpling the moss-mounds, soon blend into sable ; 
And soft creeps the night wind, a breath from a fable. 
Good night, my own love, Eola, good night ! 

Dan Chaucer's shy daisies have closed their soft petals. 

And nod in their cradles of velvet and down ; 
The gossamer-winged bee has long buzzed its grave 
trentals 
For mouldering dead, and has flown with its crown. 
Loud crickets are chirping a vespertine lay, 
And echoing responses the kat}-dids play 
In the gloom of the forest. They're silent by day. 
So good night, Eola, my dear one, good night! 

Hear the frogs ! They are grumbling in yon dismal 
lowland, 
The bird-choir of nature was silent at eve; 
And at twilight the trombones of Pan's croaking frog- 
band 
Began their loud nocturne; awakening the greave 
Illumed by the Stardust that flits through the vale 
Like sparks from a comet that dart green and pale ; 
Now high 'mong the branches, now lowly they sail. 
So rest, my sweet child . love, Eola, good night ! 

The darkness, fast deepening, spreads gloom o'er the 
azure, 
And red throbs Aurora from northerly heights; 
Bright Orion glistens for Diana's loved pleasure, 

And the Pleiades precede him, now faintly, now bright. 
Milk-white lies Heaven's archway, fast studding with 

spheres. 
Mirrored by dewdrops, sweet Heaven-sent tears; 
While low o'er the poplars slim Phoebe appears. 

Good night, little Blue-eyes; Eola, good night I 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 63 

Your eyes now grow drowsy ; your thoughts fit'ly wander ; 

The poppies have wafted their juice to your mind; 
Naive Iris has opened the cave-doors up yonder, 

And Morpheus appears, with Phantasos behind; 
So, good night, chubby child-love, and sweet be thy sleep ! 
Seek rest from thy child-play in slumber's lethe-deep! 
May happ'ly and safely thy Mentor thee keep. 

Good night, little dreamer; Eola, good night! 



64 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



WHEN I COME HO^IE AT NIGHT 

Oh, I love to be away and work all day 

At my office in the town, 
Where the street cars clang and the 'busses bang, 

And my forehead takes its frown; 
But I love still more to slam the door 

Of that office, good and tight, 
And rush right back 'long the railroad track 

To my home and pals at night. 

It's the greatest thing to take the wing 

Of the trains and hurry home, 
Where the children wait for me at the gate, 

For they know when I must come. 
And they shout with glee when the youngsters see 

Me swing at last in sight; 
Oh, 'tis the happiest time, the hour sublime, 

W^hen I come home at night. 

They rush along with shout and song 
When they see me tramping there. 
And they kick up their heels and let out hard squeals 

Of joy which fills the air; 
While our Laddie dog, with ears agog 

And grinning his delight. 
Wags his bushy tail in a hearty hail 
When I come home at night. 

And the baby climbs about forty times 

Right up my arching back 
To hug her Daddy and then play paddy, 

And give him a hearty smack ; 
While joyous Eola with glorious aureola 

Of hair, and eyes alight. 
Gives a hug and a kiss of a sweet young miss, 

As I come home at night. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 64 



Ah, if one sweet hour lies within the power 
Of God to grant all men, 
I pray it will be that he gives to thee 

The joy he gives me then, 
For my dear, true wife, with the peace of life 
Shining through the eons' flight, 
Joins the happy throng, as we frolic along, 
When I come home at night. 



66 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



HOW BABY PHYLLIS CAME 

Along the bubbling brook we walked. 

That slumbering day in lazy fall, 
And watched the lagging clouds above 

The noble poplars straight and tall ; 
We flecked the foam from dancing waves 

That rippled through our finger tips, 
Like roguish laughing fairy knaves 

That rushed away like fairy ships. 

And in each wave we saw the eyes 

Of a brown-orbed child with outstretched arni — 
A pleading face of olive tint 
With crinkling hair of golden charm ; 
While through the whispering oaken trees 

We heard the lilting laughter trill, 
A-carried high by the playful breeze 
And echoed by a whip-poor-will. 

The rustling reeds grew lush and green, 

A flame-patched mass where the woodbine flashed, 
And in the heart of the dream-lined sheen 

We saw a stork where the water splashed, — 
A God-sent earnest of a happy love 

As we kissed and all our longing fled. 
Yes, even the skies had a treasure-trove, 
For its blessing rested on our head. 

The Spirit of Love slid down a beam 

That shimmered aslant from the glinting sun, 
And lost itself in a fragrant dream 

That fell like a shower from the holy one; 
Then a golden leaf rocked in the breeze 

And softly fell through the mauve-gray air 
And twirling gently as you please, 

It kissed my bride upon her hair. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 67 



"I'S DEST A LITTLE DIRL, DADDY" * 

"Fs dest a little dirl, Daddy, 

So don't scold me any more, 
I know I dropped 'ur shavin' mug 

Upon the bathroom floor 
And busted it in lots of pieces 

And cut my little hand, 
But I didn't do it a purpose, Daddy, 

It walked right off the stand; 
So please, I's dest a little dirl. Daddy, 

Don't scold me any more. 

"Oh, Daddy, I love you awful much, 

More than my heart can hold. 
And it hurts right here if you look so cross, 

And then begin to scold. 
For something comes right in my throat 

And I choke and then I cry. 
For I dest can't stand when you look at me 

With that frown right in your eye ; 
So please, Fs dest a little dirl. Daddy, 

Don't scold me any more. 

"One day you hurt me awful hard 

When I stepped upon your speck 
And broke in two what belonged to you, 

And you called it just a wreck; 
But Daddy, I couldn't see it there 

A lying on the floor, 
And I didn't try to make a hole 

In the pretty dress I wore; 

* Dedicated to all the little girls whose daddies do not under- 
stand that they do not wilfully disobey. 



68 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

So please, I's dest a little dirl, Daddy, 
Don't scold me any more/' 

Ah ! I hear that lisp of the childish lips. 

The sob in the infant throat, 
And my eyes fill up with burning tears 

At the pain in the trembling note, 
And I swear that never again will I 

Be cross to that little elf, 
For I know that blame rests not on her 

But more upon myself. 
And I clasp her high in my aching arm. 

To prove my love in store. 
And I press her hard against my breast, 

And will never scold her more. 

For deep and true is my parent love 

As I kiss her long brown curl; 
Yes, I know she always means it well. 

For she is just my little girl ; 
But through the years until the grave 

Closes round my mouldering form, 
And through all Time and Eternity, 

Through sunshine and through storm, 
I will hear that Hsp of the childish lips 

As her frightened eyes raise from the floor, 
"I's dest a little dirl, Daddy, 

Please don't scold me any more." 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 69 



SIR BLUE BOTTLE FLY 

Bumble-Bumble, Buzz-a-buzz, 

I think I hear a fly. 
It sounds like the proud Lord Rumble Bottle, 

So let us watch him, you and I. 
Bumble-Bumble, Buzz-a-buzz, 

See, my baby, there he goes. 

Look out, old grumbler, where you sail to. 

There! I thought you'd bump your nose! 

Bumble-Bumble, Buzz-a-buzz, 

Up and down the pane you crawl, 
Can't you see the door is open ? 

Why this fuss? Look out, you'll fall! 
Hi there, fuzz-top, stop your mumbling 

You can't punch right through that glass. 
Look, there, baby, he's most angry, 

'Cause t'wont let his lordship pass. 

Bumble-Bumble, Buzz-a-buzz, 

Why, I declare he's quite outrageous; 
The way he strikes that window casing 

'Ud make you think him most courageous ; 
Now, baby, see him fly away — 

Perhaps he's left us in a huff. 
Well, I know 'tis a wise blue bottle 

When he knows he has enough. 



70 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



OUWOOCHEEGAROO 

It was misty and damp and chilly and cold ; 

Tee- whit, tee-hoo, tee hoo ! 
And the frogs in the bogs could hardly scold, 

Garoo ! Garoo ! Gwa hoo ! 
And the dismal trees in the ghostly woods 
Whispered their tales beneath their hoods, 
And flung their arms like ghastly broods, 
For they were growing old, and felt the cold. 

Ouwoocheegaroo ! garoo ! 

An ancient owl sat up in the tree ; 

Tee- whit, tee-hoo, tee hoo ! 
And blinked his goggles so he could see, 

Tee-whit, tee-hoo, tee hoo-oo ! 
He was cold as the trees that shivered around, 
And thought 'twould be warmer on the ground ; 
So he flopped and bumped to a mouldering mound, 
Like a dervish adancing a blind boree. 

Garoo ! Wa Hoo, boo-oo ! 

But the frogs groaned out in hoarse dismay, 

*'Garoo! Garoo! Gwa hoo! 
Oh, Mr. Owl, Better fly away ! 

Garoo ! Garoo ! Gwa hoo ! 
For a ghost will come and catch you sure ! 
And the goblins will gobble, and the whishties lure, 
And against their power there is no cure. 
So you'd better mind just what we say I 

Garoo! Garoo! Gwa hoo!" 

Yet that owl knew better, so old and wise, 

"Tee whit! Tee hoo! What? Who-oo!" 



4 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 71 

So he stuck up his ears and opened his eyes, 
"Tee whit! What? Whoo! Ohnoor 
With haughty proud look and a knowing sneer 
We blinked through the gloom and tried to hear 
What the winds were quarreling about so near. 
But soon he grew drowsy, and nodded with sighs, 
"Tee hoo! Fm sleepy, I knoo-o!" 

Then he snored and forgot he was out of his tree. 

Tee hoo ! Garoo I Wha hoo ! 
But bre'r fox sniffed around and saw him in glee, 

"Ki hoo ! tra loo ! Wha hoo ! 
Well, here is my supper !" And with a bound 
He snatched that owl from off that mound, 
And whirled with the feathers round and round. 
While the terrified frogs forgot their plea, 

Garoo! Garoo! Gwa hoo-00! 

Now the hoot of the owl is heard no more; 

Tee whit, tee hoo, tee hoo-00 ! 
And the tale is droned in the hoarse frog lore, 

Garoo ! Garoo ! Gwa hoo ! 
Much better had it been if that feathered sage 
Had taken th' advice of the younger in age 
'Bout a thing they knew, though he was a mage. 
And I hope 'tis a lesson not lore, 

Ouwoocheegaroo ! — garoo ! 



72 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



MY LITTLE BABY BRUVVER 

Oo, Gramma! I'm so glad you came 

To see my mamma 'cause she's sick, 
But you can't guess now, just the same, 

What's laying on our new bed-tick! 
It's got two eyes, and got a nose, 

And ain't got hair upon its head : 
An' it's got two hands and tiny toes 

And, My ! Grandma ! its skin is red ! 

And when I came up in the room 

Where mamma called for me to see, 
I was so glad that I kissed him 

Fer he s just as cute as he kin be. 
An' oh I loved to see his eyes. 

And he opened wide his weeny lid, 
And my mamma sings when bab}- cries, 

An' it stopped right oft, my bruvver did. 

I guess it knows that we love it, 

And want it soon to run around, 
For when Dad comes to stay a bit, 

He tiptoes in, don't make a sound; 
An' I just have to be so still. 

When I want to play and romp and jump, 
Fer a noise wakes bruvver — sure it will. 

An' even my handball gives a thump. ■ 

But just the same, Gramma, I'm glad 

That little bruvver came to town, 
Fer now v/e bofe belong to Dad. 

And that, you see, I fink is boun* 
To make him gladder than ever before, 

And he will work so hard because 
That when we need lots more of toys, 

Our Dad will be our Santa Glaus. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 73 



THE OOGILITHUMP 

Look out, look out for the Oogilithump 
Or he'll ketch you, ketch you, sure; 
He's prowlin' aroun' most every night 
To ketch ya if you're thar. 
He snoops aroun' and prowls aroun'. 
Like old Nick just come from hades, 
(I couldn't use the word I wanted 
Because I see some ladies) 
M-hm ! 

But the Oogilithump is an orful thing, 

An' he gobbles you — just like that. 

An' he eats you up ! Even your shoes and 

clothes. 
An' he foUers it with yer hat. 
An', an', he prowls aroun' an' he prowls aroun', 
When the night is orful dark; 
An' he sneaks, right up, behind you quick 
When yer walkin' in the park. 
M-hm! 

Oo ! Look at thar ! What's at that glass 

Appearin' in that winder! 

It's got eyes as big as the isteeple-house, 

An' red as a fiery cinder! 

Oh, golly, look out fer the Oogilithump, 

An' never run out at night, 

Fer he'll kotch ya sure if ya fool aroun' 

An' give ya an orful fright ! 

M-hm! 

An' I know what I'm talkin' about, 
Fer I guess I ought ter know. 



74 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

An* I think o* it when I wants to sneak 

Out an' go where I oughten' to go ; 

Fer I heard the awful yell o' that thing 

As he hit me on the head, 

An' I thought I was caught in a cyclone, bing! 

An' was nearly almost dead. 

One night my ma and pa went out 
T' attend the preacher's meetin', 
An' left me home wi' sissy there, 
Ma said 'twould be but fleetin'; 
An' pa he said fer me to stay. 
So sis would not be sceered, 
An' fer me not to run away, — 
Tho' nothing could be feered. 

An' he said that if I went outdoors 

I'd hear an awful screechin'. 

An' the Oogilithump would be around 

An' kotch me sure as preachin'. 

So he told me all about the thing 

With eyes as big as steeples, 

Which prowled aroun' on dark, dark nights, 

An' et up all the peoples. 

M— hm! 

But, huh ! ya think that I was 'f raid ? 

Guess not! Fer just as quick 

Ez Ma and Pa went down the road 

I scooted lickety click; 

An' I played aroun' for a long, long time, 

An' I didn't see that ghost 

Thet pa had called the Oogilithump, 

An' had forgotten it almost. 

When all on a sudden I heard a yell 
And a cuss-word and a scream. 
An' I thought I was hit by a thousand o' brick 
Or a bull-jine in a dream. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 75 

An' a thrashin' machine would be kinder tame 
To what I got that night, 
Gee whiz, the noise, and the bumps I got 
Was just a holy fright! 

An' almost dead I broke away, 
While the monster ran right after. 
And the more I ran, the more he ran — 
Tho I thought I heard some laughter; 
An' I broke right into the kitchen door 
An' slammed it tight an' quick. 
While the snarl and growl I heard it give, — 
I'll bet it was Old Nick! 

An' pretty soon my Ma came home 

And Pa came in a grinnin', 

But I couldn't see why he just laf't. 

When I my yarn was spinnin', 

For he sobered quick and said quite sharp, 

"And now, you little feller. 

Just stay at home, or he'll get you yet, 

And you'll do more than beller." 

M-hm! 

So look out, look out fer the Oogilithump, 

Or he'll kotch you, kotch you sure; 

Fer he's prowlin' aroun', and prowlin' aroun* 

An' he'll get you, if yer thar. 

Fer the Oogilithump is an orful thing. 

An' he gobbles you — just like that. 

Fer he loves to grab little boys and girls 

Who are bad — I tell you what ! 

H— hm! 



76 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE BELLS OF SANTA 

Listen, Phyllis, do you hear the bells of Santa coming 
near? 
Jingling o'er the distant hill, tinkling on the air so still? 
Now they sound so merrily, tinkling out so cheerily, 
At the window place your ear, for Santa's bells are draw- 
ing near. 

Jing-a-ling, ting-a-ling as he comes. I wonder does he 

bring some drums? 
Wonder if he has your doll? Wonder if he's short or 

tall? 
Wonder if he'll leave his pack? Oh, may I see him 
through a crack? 
Phyllis, listen, do you hear? 
Santa's bells are drawing near. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 77 



"I EXPECT" 

I expect that now I'm in for a row; 

I dunno, I expect. 
I'm allers in trouble anyhow! 

I dunno, I expect. 
I get licked for things I never do, 
Get cuffed by my dad when teacher gets through. 
And alius get told I receive my due. 

I dunno, I expect. 

I'm in heaps of trouble and orful scared; 

I dunno, I expect. 
But yum! — them cookies — they disappeared; 

I dunno, I expect. 
Ma made some jam and put it away. 
And baked some cookies the other day, 
And hid all the goodies away from me; 

O, I dunno, I expect. 

Then she went and visited a neighbor friend ; 

I dunno, I expect. 
"Now be good, Httle Johnny, you understand?" 

I dunno, I expect. 
I was just as good as I could be. 
An' played with the cat, an' skinned my knee, 
An' touch that jam? — 'm — 'm — not me! 

I dunno, I expect. 

But that durned cat must have eaten the jam; 

I dunno, I expect. 
And stolen the cookies and cut the ham; 

I dunno, I expect, 
For when I went in the house to see 



78 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

If the preserves was there, ('s it ort to be,) 
I found it all gone, — (yum yum) — by gee! 
Oh, I dunno, I expect. 

I like preserves^ — ^you bet I do ! 

"I dunno, I expect," 
An' bread an* ham and cookies too! 

"I dunno, I expect," 
But I didn't touch that jar of jam, 
And I wasn't hungry enough for ham, 
But as allers the way, I'll get the blame; 

I dunno, I expect. 

Oh, looket there I What's on my face ? 

I dunno, I expect. 
Well I declare! It's jam and grease, 

I dunno, I expect. 
That blamed old cat must have kissed me there, 
Or how did it get on my face, an' my hair? 
Great Caesar, I'm in for it, — but I don't care. 

I dunno, I expect. 

When ma comes home — gee, won't she be mad? 

I dunno, I expect. 
An' I'll get licked, I suppose, by my dad; 

I dunno, I expect. 
But if I ever catch that cat again 
A stealin' the jam and a kissin' me, when 
I didn't do nothin' — (yum — ^yum — I'll grin), 

O, I dunno, I expect. 

For a boy is a boy in spite of his faults, 

I dunno, I expect, 
An' he's hungry for jam, just as well as cats, 

I dunno, I expect, 
An' if I'ni to get licked for another's doin', 
I wanter have the fun of doin' the chewing; 
But I didn't do this — 'm 'm — not a thing; 

O, I dunno, I expect 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 79 

Some day when I grow up to be a man, 

I dunno, I expect, 
1*11 get the better of the old folks then, 

I dunno, I expect. 
I'll look back on the time of apple jam. 
And laugh with the folks about stealin' ham, 
And joke 'bout that cat in epigram; 

I dunno, I expect. 

But sh! — not a word, for here comes ma, 

I dunno, I expect. 
And thundering saints ! if there ain't pa ! 

I dunno, I expect. 
Gee! where did that cat put all the preserve? 
Now I've got to face it, and I ain't got nerve, 
"Hello, Ma," (watch, get outer my curve;) 

NOW I dunno — but i expect! 



8o STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



JOHNNY SEES THE COURTIN' 

Golly! 

Sis is all spruced up tonight, 

An' she's mighty fidgity and finicky, too, 

Her hair is curled an' curled an' curled, 

And she's got pink ribbons on her shoe; (giggle) 

An' her dress ! oh Lor ! how it does bunch 

Out all around* her like a balloon ; 

With starch in the skirt, an' starch in the waist — 

An' — an' — she's ironed it over twice since noon; 

An' her face! (haw) she warshed it four or five times, 

And looked in the mirror to see 'f it was clean. 

An' she used a lemon on her freckled nose — (he he!) 

An' I told her she'd better use some benzine, (ho ho !) 

And she got all het an' furious, she did. 
And chas't me out and slammed the door. 
An' called on ma to keep me out, 

So's I couldn't come in and bother no more, (giggle) 
And I just climbed up on a barrel in the yard, 
An' peeked right into her window then. 
So I seed her use some uv ma's flour, I did. 
Slopped it on her face, and then rubbed it in, 
An' 'en she just used my rabbit's foot 
That I wondered where the old thing had gone. 
And I saw her pat it up and down. 
And criss-cross like a mower *goin' over the lawn, 
(he he!) 

An' my! warnt she just all dolled up? 

An' primped and frizzled just fittin' to kill? (he he!) 

Fer I knew what she was a doin' it f er, — 

She expects to land thet old fule. Bill. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 8i 

Huh! Bill Eckels, the man who couldn't sing 

Worth a cent at church — tho he thinks he can, — 

With a curl in his hair, an' gold in his tooth. 

Guess I kin pick out a lot better style man. (humph !) 

And ma said, "Now Milly, just see tonight 

Ef ya can't bring thet tarnation simp to book, 

Fer he's been coming on here fer nigh on two year, 

An' soon he'll be getting right off 'en yer hook." 

So Milly is all goshed and perked to kill, 
An' I'll betch ya he'll have a deuce uv a time 
When he comes an' tries to call on my siss. 
Without his nerve is all set in hard lime, 
Fer Wow! she means the bizz tonight. 
An' Bill hez just got to say something 
That means he's goin' to be a member 
Of us, and prove it with a weddin' ring. 
But Gee ! here he comes right at the door, — • 
Just see that walk — ^an' that smirky grin ; 
I'll bet they make a hull show fer themselves,- 
For siss is so fat — and Bill is so thin. 

Huh! Looket at that boquet in his button hole! 

And his hair is curled, and doped with oil; 

He's got spats on his feet, an' gloves an' things, — 

Gosh ! He's sure callin' on his own best girl ! (giggle) 

Sh ! Listen ! "Oh deary, so glad you came, 

It's lonesome whenever you've been away. 

It's been a whole year since you heve been here," (haw) 

(Slush! the old fool was here just yesterday.) 

"So glad I came. You are looking sweet'* 

(Huh! she'd orter by the time she put on her hair.) 

"Ahem! I want you — er — I want you, — er — Milly,'* 

"Oh, Billy, how sudden ! Oh, Billy dear !" 

Gosh ! she snapped him up most mighty quick. 
But he wasn't quite ready to be landed yet. 
Just looket there — he has shied right off — 
And has almost jumped right out of the net. 



:82 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Listen, — "But Milly — I want, — I mean — hm, 

I want ter take ye right down ter my maw." 

"Oh Billy boy, you dear, dear boy, — 

Of course, but first you must ask my paw," 

And she's smiling and snickering against his coat, 

Till he just can't help himself any more — 

So there it goes — his arm steals around — 

Huh — ^you needn't think I'll peek in that door! 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 83 



ROBIN RED BREAST 

"Cheer up, deary ; cheer up, deary ; cheer, cheer !" 

What is this strikes on my half-startled ear? 
"Cheer up, deary; cheer up, deary; cheer, cheer I" 

Sweet comes the sound now far and now near. 
Down from the trees a flash of deep red. 
With a flip of its tail and a flirt of its head, 
Perking its wings and preening its crest, — 
"Why, hello, my fellow, 'tis Robin Red Breast!" 

"Chew it; chew it; chew it, dear!" 

Good morning, my stranger, what's this I hear? 
"Cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, dear." 

Well I do declare! Spring must be near! 
Far from the fields of the soft southern land 
You challenge the winter in its last dismal stand; 
Avaunt to the cold and its icy north blast! 
The blossoms are coming and winter is past. 

• • • 

"Cheer up, deary, cheer up, deary, cheer up, dear !" 

A new note is sounded, paen of good cheer. 
"Cheer up, deary, cheer up, deary ; cheer up, dear !" 
The gloom days are over, there's nothing to fear. 
Ah, see how he peeks through the half -open door, 
And struts on the porch; and the crumbs on the floor 
Are almost enough to turn his head, quite, — 
Well, I'll confess, he'll not starve tonight. 

"I want cherries, I want cherries; cherries, dear!" 
What's that, you rascal! Now isn't it queer, 

I give him the breadcrumbs, and this what I hear, 
"I want cherries; I want cherries; cherries, dear!" 



84 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Aha, little beggar, you steal of my fruit 
And then in my presence you tune on your lute! 
How now, little glutton, will you leave me a berry? 
Why! He bows in his pastime, and drops me a cherry. 

He drops me a cherry and then the sly rogue 

Flits off to the branches and derides in this brogue; 
"Chew it; chew it; chew it, dear!" 

And he feasts on the berries so lusciously near. 
And morning and noon, and the dewy eve 
His liquid sweet notes their melody weave, 
Till the thrill of the joy of each newborn day 
Resolves into peace that will ne'er pass away. 

Eat on, little stranger, in me behold a friend ; 

And even your poaching I fain will defend ; 
But a tithe do you ask for the pleasure you give, 

And your heart has the answer, to "Live and Let Live." 
Not a sweet do you take but you return to us two, 
And the psalms to your sky each spring you renew, — 
Give hope to the dreary, and joy to us all, 
And always you hearten with your cheerful wild call, 

"Cheer up, deary; cheer up, deary; cheer, cheer!" 

Editor's Note : The robin's call in March is indicated by 
the first two stanzas. The Robin changes his call in June 
when the cherries are ripe. Listen to his call this year and see 
for yourself. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 85 



LEETLE PETER OOPDYKE 

Leetle Peter Oopdyke, 
He vos a funny feller, 
Ven his fader spanked him 
He vood begin to beller, 
But when his mudder luffed him 
He vood begin to smile; 
Ach, leetle Peter Oopdyke, 
Vas laffin' all the while. 

Leetle Peter Oopdyke, 
He had such funny klose — 
In all my life I never saw 
Some panteys yust like those, 
Dey come way out like von balloon 
Unt like a bag dey hung, 
His leetle face vos like a moon, 
Yust fresh from scrubbing brung. 

Yas, leetle Peter Oopdyke, 

He vore big vooden shoes 

Unt clattered up around the house 

Ust ven I wants to snooze; 

Unt ven I tell him, "Go avay 

Unt no more make dat noise," 

He oops and kissed me on der mout ; 

My, vat a funny boys ! 

But, ach ! I luf dat little tyke, 

Shust so high as a chair. 

He runs around the house all day, 

Unt has such yellow hair. 

Unt ven I look into his eyes 

To see dem deep unt blue, 

Py golley, it makes me good right here,- 

Unt you would luf him too ! 



86 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



TOODLUMS IS GONE 

Toodlums is gone, 
And as I wander about the house 
Searching ever, I know not why, 
My hand takes up a Httle blouse 
And I can bare suppress a sigh. 
It is so still, so awful still, 
For baby feet no more resound 
Upon the stairs, upon the floor. 
And baby words no more abound. 

Toodlums is gone, 
I sadly stroke the Teddy bear 
Which lonesome stands in yonder corner, 
And wonder when that little chair 
Had last rested the little mourner; 
Each scattered toy upon the floor, 
The pop-eyed doll with towsled hair, 
The Mother Goose with color page, 
All seemed to wait for Toodlums there. 

Toodlums is gone, 
His curly top will never bob 
Its timid way through life again, 
For like the mystic kiss of heaven 
He had come in joy and passed in pain; 
And though the tears of love may well 
Into the eye and salve the soul, 
Yet must we know that he has gone, — 
While weary years must take their toll. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 87 

Toodlums is gone. 
Oh, God in Heaven, must I wait 
So long to hear his childish voice 
As it lisps aloud in happy joy 
A coo to make my heart rejoice? 
I close my lids and in a mist 
I see his eyes laugh into mine, 
And baby arms are wide outstretched 
For me; he snuggles soft in Thine. 



88 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



EVENING PRAYER 

Father, keep my babe tonight, 

Guard him from care and pain. 

Guide him aright all the way, 

Keep him thru every day; 

Joy and sorrow may come, Dear Lord, 

But Love and Hope comes again; 

Rest thy dear hand on his head then. Dear Lord, 

Oh, bless him, Dear Lord, I pray. 

Heaven protect my boy through life, 

Make him to be clean and pure; 

Make him a man of faith in all strife, 

Help him his cross to endure. 

Rest thy dear hand on his head then. Dear Lord, 

Oh, bless him, Dear Lord, this day. 

Rest thy dear hand on his head then. Dear Lord, 

Oh, bless Him, Dear Lord, I pray. 



i 



J 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 89 



A BUSHEL OF SNOW 

ARABESQUE 

(One side of the shield) 

A bushel of snow, 
A bushel of snow, 
'Twill make the ground white 
Where'er it may go. 
'Twill make it quite white 
On some cold windy night. 
And will bring much delight 
To the children of wealth — 
Ah, those children of wealth ! 

'Twill bring much delight. 
On that cold windy night, 
To those children of wealth 
Who have enzymes of health, 
And bright flashing eyes, 
With no reason for sighs. 
With rose-tinted cheeks, — 
Roses of health, 
Roses of wealth, — 
Of hygienic living. 
Of loving and giving. 
Of a physician's fond care, 
And God's fresh, pure air; 
Sleeping porches and tennis. 
They escape the menace 
Of squabble and grime, 
Of misery and sHme; 
Gruesome tuberculosis. 
Arterial sclerosis. 



90 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

They live in the open 

With nurses to watch them 

And tutors to hopen 

And chauffeurs to match them. 

Ah, those children of wealth! 

Surely should have health 

To love that white snow, 

That bushel of snow, 

Which will swirl and blow. 

Blow wildly and stinging. 

Like the banshee a-ringing 

Its weird, melancholy song 

All through the night long, 

Till the maids crouch in terror 

As they hear the ghost-chant 

Grooge out its dread cant; 

And the spooks peer in windows 

Of the superstitious throng 

All the weird night long 

Till the first break of day 

Drives the banshee away. 

And the wit frightened maid 

Still palely afraid. 

Peers out on the lawn 

In that eerie early dawn, 

And she smiles a wan smile 1| 

For a wee, little while, — 

A wee, sickly smile 

For just a little while, — 

And then tells of her terror 

With words full of error, 

What she saw and heard 

What she heard and saw, 

While the wind was a-blowing, 

And skies were a-snowing. 

That wild, winter night. 

And she peoples her fright 

With the banshee's flight. 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 91 

And ghosts and sprites, 

And a green floating light ; 

And she swears that she saw 

With a child in its maw 

A werewolf in the air 

As it howled around there, 

A ^skeleton form 

Which still had the worm 

Gnawing at its cold breast 

And its carrion chest, — 

A gruesome specter 

A hideous troll 

Of long ages past, 

Returned at last 

To scare this sad maid 

Who stood there afraid 

On that wild, winter's night. 

And she shakes her head 
At the howls of delight, 
Which the children of wealth 
Call out as they roll. 
And tumble and slide 
In the snow outside, 
For that big bushel of snow 
Must bring someone grim woe; 
For the banshee has cried 
So someone has died 
And is covered outside. 
Oh, is covered out there 
Where the firs droop, and where 
The mounds of drift snow 
Had been forced to blow 
By the bitter north wind. 
The soulless north wind. 
Which butted and battled. 
And hissed and rattled. 
All through the night. 
The night of white 



92 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Brings forms and fright 

For some, but pleasure and joy 

For the girl and boy, 

Who has health and wealth, 

And warmth 'gainst the stealth 

Of the bitter, bitter cold. 

'Tis good to have gold 

To buy crusts and coal, 

To buy peace for the soul, 

Which is only sold 

If you have the gold. 

As we have always been told. 

Yes, we are always told. 

And if we haven't the gold, 

Then we must stay cold; 

For the pirates and ghouls, d 

Like devilfish and owls, " 

Watch o'er their hoard 

Of million-aged coal 

In the bowels of the earth. 

It belonged to the God, 

Who gave it to men 

With majestic, soft word, 

But 'twas stolen by thieves, 

By the cursed robber chiefs. 

At the gracious Son's birth, 

Who were not thrust in the gaol 

Like any other vile clod. 

But, like Judas, escaped 

To do it all over again. 

And the children of men? — 
Ah, the children shout. 
And the sleighbells ring out, 
For that white, sifting snow, 
That big bushel of snow. 
Has brought with it the glow 
Of happiness and joy 



J 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 93 

To that girl and that boy, 

Who romp and play 

In the snow all day; 

Romp and play 

And build their mock forts, 

Igloos, and other sports 

In the big bushels of snow, 

Before it can go, — 

Their dialed fox and geese, 

Snow men with white fleece. 

Stomp the leader. 

And in the drifts they pile. 

With shouts of laughter, 

And hoots all the while. 

Angels with wings, 

And many other things 

In the deep, pure snow. 

For all the boys know 
That when the snow packs 
You have to roll stacks 
Of gigantic, white balls 
Before the school calls, 
And jack them in rows 
Upon rows of white walls. 
While from eyes and nose 
Runs the blinding sap. 
And the hands will chap; 
But who cares for such woes. 
While the red cheek glows, 
And the boy's heart knows 
What everybody knows, 
That the beautiful snows 
Were made just for fun. 
Which has just begun 
When the old bell rings 
And its cruel message brings, 
*'Come on to school. 
Come on to school." 



94 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

"Oh, hang the old bell! 

Why, why in — well 

Why can't it desist 

Or drop from its tower, 

'Twill never be missed; 

An extra hour 

Out here in the snow 

Would be better, I know, 

Than digging in Caesar 

Before that old geezer 

Who calls for the gerund 

Or ablative of motion,— 

I wish the old ocean 

Were betvveen her and school, 

Or some fool errand 

Would take the old mule." 

But insistently calling 

With monotonous song, 

"Ding-a-dong — Ding-a-dong !" 

There can be no stalling 

To break the rule, 

"Come to school, come to school !" 

So with reluctant, nipped feet, 

They wander away 

Through snow and sleet. 

But soon their bright hearts 

A warm glow imparts 

To the snow flurried day; 

And they scamper and shout 

While yodels ring out 

On the wintry air 

And again all is fair. 

For the bushel of snow 

Has banished boy-woe. 

So hail to the conqueror, 

Big bushel of snow ! 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 95 



A BUSHEL OF SNOW 



(The obverse side) 

Big bushel of snow, 
Big bushel of snow, 
To some it brings joy 
To others it brings woe. 
Woe, woe stalks on the path, 
The ice- fringed path. 
Of big bushels of snow. 
The wild winds howl. 
And the snow sprites call, 
The hyenas of death yowl, 
As the snow flakes fall; 
For that mantle of white, 
Oh, that shroud of white. 
Which is falling so soft 
All through the cold night 
Is bringing wan death 
And hopeless misery. 

Its icy-filled breath 

Many a time and oft 

Is fraught with the sting 

Of death, and its wing 

Of soft fluffy white. 

Which has feathered the night, 

Covers the stark, frozen form 

Of the jetsam of the storm. 

Oh, horrible fate 

Of those, who too late 

Discover that death 

Lurks in the zero breath 



96 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Of the star-shaped snow, 

The hypocritical snow, 

Which comes and which goes 

With its joys and its woes; 

So sudden, so terribly sudden 

That the poor can never prepare 

For the time coming where 

They may house themselves carefully. 

And warmly and prayerfully, 

'Gainst the howling winds scudding 

From the Arctic waste 

To give them a taste 

Of the lurking death. 

'Tis hid in the breath 
Of the soft, fluffy snow 
Which the north winds blow. 
But which bites and stings 
When Aurora Borealis brings 
Its eerie flashings in the sky, — 
Flashings from space, 
A wireless from eternity 
Which bears no grace 
Nor hint of its enormity 
That the unprepared must die, 
Must die! That the unprepared, 
The laggard and poor. 
The wailing at the door, 
The halt and the lame, 
The weakling and the game. 
The staring and the stared, 
In squalor and in grime, 
Without reason or rhyme, 
Must die. 

For the snow, 

With its slithering fingers, 

With icy grasp, feloniously lingers 

And grabs the poor crouchant. 



i 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 97 

Huddled and couchant, 
In the dark, freezing shack, 
Where all things lack, 
And slowly its clasp, 
Like the sting of an asp, 
Closes about and about, 
Till life is frozen out, 
Ah, the soul is frozen out! 
And mere hideous forms, 
Fit food for the worms. 
Caricatures of being, 
Unhearing, unseeing, 
Are left in the squalor, 
'Neath the moon's ashy pallor, 
'Neath the shred of the rags 
Which had covered that corpse, 
Barely covered that corpse. 
Barely covered but no more, 
For no fire was there. 
No heat in the air. 
No food on the shelf, 
To strengthen himself. 
An outcast forgotten. 
Now frozen and rotten. 

But once, ah, once long ago 
*Twas a mother's sweet woe, 
A mother's sad pain. 
And joy come again, 
A father's fond hope, — 
But now lying there 
In winter's grim lair 
Lies nothing that mortal 
Within that grim portal 
Could bring back again 
To the knowledge of men. 
All the hopeless waste 
Of a life of distaste. 
For big bushels of snow 



98i STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

With its billows of woe 
Its mantle of white, 
Through the cruel, cold night 
Has stopped the heart beat, 
The dreary life's cheat. 
And that bushel of snow 
Has called, called away 
To an icier day 
The cuddled, shivering wretch, 
'Neath the damp, rotting thatch 
Of that shack in the vale, 
'Side the malignant swale, 
To a cavernous woe. 

So hail to the snow. 

Big bushels of snow, — 

To some it brings joy 

But to some it spells woe! 

Woe! 

Woe! 



CHILDREN'S POEMS 99 



GOING TO MEET GRANDMA 

"I's goin* to meet my Gran'ma," 
Said the maid all dressed in white, 
As she stood before the dresser 
And her eyes were sparkling bright. 
"I's goin' to meet my Gran'ma, 
For my Mama's sick in bed, 
And Ts got to go and meet her, 
For she's coming soon, she said." 

"I's goin' to meet my Gran'ma," 
As she toddled down the street. 
And she smiled a happy greeting 
To every one she met; 
And they smiled back at the baby, 
And looked after as she passed. 
For the angels hovered near her. 
And her eyes and lips they kissed. 

"I's goin' to meet my Gran'ma, 

And I's goin' to the train, 

For my Gran'ma couldn't find her 

Way to Mama's house again; 

And I want my Gran'ma right now, 

For my Mama's orful sick, 

So I just thought I would get her, 

And surprise my Mama quick." 

Far away the baby toddled. 
And the nurse there at her home 
Wondered where the little youngster 
Could have had the urge to roam; 
Far she wandered toward the station, 
Lisping soft her glad refrain, 
"Yes, I's goin' to get my Gran'ma, 
To make my Mama well again." 



100 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Through the crowded streets she wandered, 

Past the watchman at the gate 

Who was talking with another, 

Noticed not until too late, — 

Then a shriek rang through the station, 

And a voice cried on the air, 

"My God ! the child's in danger ! 

Who can rush to save her there?" 

Frantic sprang the awed attendants. 
Wildly cried the crowd in fear, 
Wierdly screamed the engine whistle, 
When the startled engineer 
Beheld the baby as it stumbled 
On the crossties down the track. 
And his hair turned white in terror! 
Could no one call the toddler back? 

Quick he thrust the grinding brakes on, 
Tried to check the onward rush ; 
His face was furrowed deep in sorrow, 
An awful groan broke through the hush; 
For the child brooked not the danger 
Rushing toward her, demon-like, 
But onward tottered to her finish 
Where the monster grim should strike. 

With a moan the crowd beheld it, 
None could reach her e'er too late. 
With a cry the trainmen shuddered. 
As they saw her awful fate; 
God in Heaven! Pull the curtain. 
As the bundle gowned in white 
Was mangled by the car wheels 
People fainted at the sight. 

Sadly gathered they the baby 
Crushed and limp — but on the face 
Still the smile of girlish daydream, 



CHILDREN'S POEMS loi 

Smile of peace and childish grace; 
For the infant still seemed toddling 
On its way to meet her friend, 
And her lips still seemed to whisper 
She would meet her in the end. 

Oh, the sadness as they laid her 
In the coldness of her grave ! 
Oh, the sobs that shook the station 
As they saw the flowers they gave; 
Sad the city mourned in temples, 
Ne'er could each the other greet ; 
Yes, she went to meet her grandma. 
But 'twas at the Mercy seat. 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 

THE GOD OF WAR 

Tremble nations ; for I come 

With wail of dirge and roll of drum; 

My banners flash across the sky 

And all who see behold to die. 

Destroy I all that has been built 

By sweat of brow and dreams divine, 

And at my feet the blood is spilt 

Which throbbed in hearts that raised my shrine; 

For I, the horrid God of War, 

Stalk gaunt across the paths of peace, 

And blast and sear the souls of men 

With screams of death and cannon roar; 

And I kill, kill, kill ! 

Until I get my fill; 
And I devour the pride and flower of all the anguished 
earth ; 

Yes, I kill, kill, kill! 

Destroy, where'er I will, — 
I take the small, the large, the tall, — fair lives of massive 
worth. 

Tremble, people! Grovel low! 

Each gory step will bring ye woe. 

Woe I Woe 1 the Heaven's red 

Reflects the slimy rows of dead. 

And all the trappings of the arms 

Are tarnished tinsel, soon to yield 

In ghastly grime and stricken forms 

Its fading sheen upon the field; 

The best to pay the Lord of War 

Its tithe celestial from each soul; 

To drain the drops — the bitter toll 

That blasts the nations evermore. 

Fori kill, kill, kill! 

105 



io6 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

All the day and night, until 
The very stones run blood, and bones are rotting in the 
night; 
Aye, I kill, kill, kill! 
And I never get my fill ; 
I destroy in fiendish joy, and festering crime is my 
delight. 

Tremble, Heavens ! Hear my voice ! 
Its sounds of pain make fiends rejoice. 
From brazen lips belch forth commands. 
And myriad deaths stretch out their hands. 
While the people worry', worry; 
How they rush and run and scurry ! 
And grow pale and sickly grope — a fearsome stricken 
heap! 
While from out my mouth the fire 
Blasts like Sodom flame, or Tyre, 
Hell's destructive lavas fill the trenches millions deep. 
For its War! War! War! 
Though none can tell just what it's for; 
But every home must fill with gloom because my hand 
is raised in wrath ; 
And it's War ! War ! War ! 
Such as never cursed before, 
Still must the tramp of armies stamp down progress in 
my murderous path. 

l'envoi 

Ah, God in Heaven, — most Righteous One, 
That knowest the end long e'er begun. 
Give us the strength, the power to save 
This trembling earth from ambition's slave. 
Impart the vision that hope is not lost, 
And Progress be not in Oblivion tossed ; 
But gird our loins in this monstrous fray 

So that our homes fade not away. 
Ay, bless our banners in the sky. 
Of the avenging Army of the Lord Most High! 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 107 



MY NATIVE LAND 

Ah, my native land, that I should live to see 

Thee plunged again within the deep morain 

Of War, and lose thy long Divinity 

Which near hadst won — didst bare by grace attain 

By super thought, by power above, by might 

From Heaven lent to nobly fill thy glorious destiny! 

Why didst thou grasp the will-o-wisp of War, 

Which turned to murdering viper in thy grasp, 

And spewing forth the venom of the hidden store 

Of evil, lust, did sting thee like an asp. 

Until thy bowels swelled fat with pain, and from 

Thy side crawled leprous things to harm thee evermore? 

Thy aching brain did long resist the lecherous plot, 

Of war-soaked gnomes, who sought the bloody path, 

And now while horrors grim will be thy lot. 

Yet canst thou know the God of Right in wrath 

Will gird thy sides with sword and shield; 

So strike, strike hard, my native land, and falter not. 



io8 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



NO COWARDS HERE 

Did you ever see a Sammy flinch 

When it came to working hard? 

Did America ever spawn a coward? 

Is your pal a slacker, pard? 

From '76 to '98 have we ever thrown down 

the sponge? 
Not on your life, we stand the gaff, 
And are ready to make the plunge! 

Who says the spirit of '"j^ 
Has died in the scramble for wealth? 
Who says the rights of the world are lost 
In the search for pleasure and health? 
In peace we bless the work of day, 
Enjoy the things that God is giving. 
But slumbering never! In our heart 
The love of justice still is living. 

A sleeping dog most quiet is. 
But rouse him with a sudden kick 
Upsoon behold his snarl of rage, 
And teeth are felt a-twinkling quick. 
And so beneath the thin veneer 
Of quiet, family-loving Yanks, 
You find, when Justice cries aloud. 
That every man will swell the ranks. 

Each man will boil his heart in rage. 
Each American, with fearless eye, 
Will call to man and give his all 
That Liberty shall never die. 
For with such souls the world is safe 
Beyond the schemes of wild autocracy; 
God made this earth so all may live; — 
We make it safe for true Democracy! 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 109 



SEEKING THE BEAN 

At mess one day the boys had soup — 
That's what I said, s-o-u-p ; 
The camp cook claimed 'twas made of beans — 
And beans are good enough for me. 

I drank my bowl of camouflage, 
And pitched right into the coming grub, 
But when we all were nearly filled, 
We glanced surprise at 30's dub. 

There he sat and sat and stirred, 

But not a move to eat made he, 

But stirred he well and gazed in gloom. 

And he stirred and glowered on the pale puree. 

"Hi there, dub! what evil sprite 
Passes your warped and vagrant brain? 
Why not get busy with the soup ? — " 
But he only stirred that mirage again. 

A dazed look spread o'er his face, 
In agony he peered and gazed. 
And gradually his injured voice 
In petulant protest was raised. 

"Hi say, my corporal, me man, 
Hi say, this blooming stuff is thin. 
They call this soup, but where's the goop 
That made the stuff or brought it in ?" 

The corporal came and eyed the dub, 
"Hoot Mon! what's aching ye this day? 
That's soup allricht, just drink it doon, 
The mess is done, now come away." 



no STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



But the raw recruit just stirred his soup, 
Nor ate nor drank he all that eve; 
The flag retreat and roll call came, 
Nor would he then his stirring leave. 

The sun went down, the night wind blew, 
But yet he stirred — persistent chap — 
Until the Corporal called the Sarg, 
The Sarg the Lieut, and he the Cap. 

The Captain came in dudgeon wild, 
His face flushed red, his eyes flashed green, 
"Come man ! what freak possesses ye !" — 
Then quoth the Rookey with humble mien, 
"My Cap, I merely seek the bean." 



PATRIOTIC POEMS iii 

TAPS 

AN ELEGY OF THE TRENCHES 

The flickering shadows waver fitfully 

As the candle flame dodges bright, now flares, now dim, 

Like the aspen white and green in the scented breeze 

Of spring, — the half -bowed moon, a slender pallid rim. 

The walled trench lies silent, threatening, 

While now, anon, the softly suppressed clank 

Of some deadly steel strikes 'gainst the rising mound 

Of some foul instrument of death, reeking, cold, and 

dank. 
The hushed voice of twilight has long sought its nocturnal 

couch. 
And fleeting time has softly sunk in vales of Lethe; 
A brooding pause has shrived the carnage of the day. 
And somnolent shadows group the camouflage beneath; 
The throbbing bugle sounds its shivering mournful lay ; 
So, good-night, boys. Lights out! 

Across the dim and distant vista rasps 

The clarion note of some hoarse-voiced command, 

Where the Boche relieves his wearied mate in crime. 

To take the post and watch the space of No Man's Land. 

Full brothers they, yet subtly aim in hate to slay 

Their western friends — friends whom they had no cause 

to hate, 
But urged on by strident, false-voiced sophistries. 
And ambition's vaunting appetite to sate; 
Too late will they discover that the Gilded High 
Are not their peers or even their Saviour's friend, — 
And yet they crouch and watch and wait and prey 
As we our own, our rights and liberties defend. 
Ah, well, ^tis night; the morn may ,see a better day,' — 
So, good-night, boys. Lights out! 



112 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Far in the threatening gloom we see the shimmering 

flash 
Of the murdering shell as it spreads its fiendish agony, 
And to the flash, like thunder to the lightning stroke, 
We hear the rumble of the blast, an earnest of Eternity. 
God save us all ! Behind yon darkling limned hills 
Hide demons wild, — the thoughts malevolent of cursed 

mind; 
But far beyond, the creamy milk of kindness grows not 

cold. 
For there the gentle nurses minister succor to their kind ; 
Altho' the lowering skies hold pendulous tears unwiped. 
And 'neath our feet the slime of Europe holds its nause- 
ous sway. 
Yet in our hearts we find the courage of the white crusade. 
And still our God doth live and bring a nobler, future 

day. 
Yes, so our soul thrills high with yonder bugle's last sad 

ode; 
So, good-night, boys. Lights out! 

One moment agone there passed in slow and silent step 
Six head-bowed forms with shrouded stretchers borne 

between, 
And on those swaying couches I could dimly see 
Three ghastly shapes — that once had joyed and raced 

upon the green, — 
Three boys from home, victims of yon insane dark mon- 
ster's hate. 
The fruits of war — sad comment of the Kultur of the age ! 
And so may I, or may some other grieving mother's son 
Become the victim of the lust so insensate. 
The murmuring voices of the pallid, gruesome hour 
But emphasize the unseen threatenings of the Stygian 

night. 
For e'en the mountains tremble at the demon's power. 
Yet rest we silent, — assured 'tis but the nightmare's 

palsied fright — 
That bugle's last sad requiem sobs o'er the shrouded bower 
Of the Dead. So good-night bo^-s. Lights out! 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 113 



THE DESERTER 

The bugle sounded the reveille, 
And out of our bunks the company filed, 
While each one asked still drowsily 
What might portend this summons wild. 

"Awake, arise!" the insistent note 
Climbed up and up on the clear night air, 
And sobbed and rose, like a bobbing boat 
Upon the waves of the stream Lodaire. 

With hasty toilet and heads erect 
We stood ''attention" with raised hands. 
While from mouth to mouth the whispers flew 
That a deserter must answer grim War's demands. 

We stood there mute, but tense our throat, 
We seemed to scent the grave import. 
For down the line a sad-faced lad 
Was slowly led with pacings short. 

A lad, I said — some mother's boy 
Had fled the duties of the siege. 
Stampeded by the vision of death ahead. 
Had chosen the hidden woods near Liege. 

Had chosen, but chosen without leave. 
And at the summons in the morn 
His place was blank, deserted his straw, 
For in his heart the "fear" was bom. 

*Twas not the cowg^rdliness of the churl 
That led that lad unto his shame. 
But impulsive youth still loved its life. 
And forgot for the nonce his nobler name. 



114 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

As down the taut and expectant line 
He cringed to the lash of God's cruel whip, 
A groan breathed low from the hopeless sky, 
The tear-stopped eye, the trembling lip. 

He came; full well he knew his fate, 
For War is Hell, and more than all, 
He knew that mercy is unknown 
Where discipline has heard the call. 

A comrade once he was of ours, 
A joyous, sparkling, thoughtless lad; 
Fullhearted, sharing his every crust, — 
And now, must we believe him bad? 

He had debauched one moment's strength, 
But there are times in each man's life 
That all are cowards, the form too weak 
To shoulder the sting of sterner strife. 

God pity him there and pity- us all 
Who falter along in faint degree. 
For but for the accident of my birth 
That lad out there might well be me. 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 115 



BULLETS, BULLETS, BULLETS! 

(Story of the Battle of San Juan Hill) 

Slow the tragic day was breaking. 
Far across the gloomy vale 
Hung the misty cloud of morning 
Roseate hued, now gold, now pale. 
Sleepily the chirp from branches 
Echoed soft the drowsy plaint 
Of the oriole and the swallow, 
While a song sounds sweet and faint 
Dim beyond the wooded hillside. 
And a stir thrills through the camp. 
Then the sudden blast of bugle 
Pierces keen the clinging damp. 
"Up! Awake, ye slumbering soldiers! 
For today the day of doom! 
Strike for right and right will triumph ! 
Drive away the Stygian gloom 
Of oppressed and suffering neighbors 
Crouching low in dread despair! 
Strike for freedom of the masses ! 
Hear ye not their moaning there?" 
Soon the roll of drum and cannon 
Trembled o'er the sodden ground, 
For eftsoon the bravest of them 
Would be mouldering in a mound. 

They were to face bullets, bullets, bullets! 

Flying through the torrid air; 
Howling shot and shrieking shrapnel. 

To make the hillside bleak and bare. 
Bullets, bullets, bullets! 

Smell of death and serpent sting; 
Moaning bullets ! Biting bullets I 



ii6 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

■Some that shout and some that sing. 
Wild their cry as they strike, 

Cruel bullets for the brave, 
Crash of steel and roaring cannon, 

Sounds of slaughter and the grave! 

Soon then moves the mighty army. 

Like a snake it dares the hill; 

Slow uncoils its shining body, 

While above the guns are still. 

Yard on yard with threatening rumble 

Mounts each column to its height, 

While behind and all around them 

Gleam the pennants in the light. 

It seemed as though the world entire 

Did move there slow with measured tread ; 

It seemed that God in Heaven stood and 

Looked upon the scene in dread. 

Persistent, steady, firm they climb 

Until the cannon on the brow 

Of yonder hill stood bleak and frowning. 

Threatening death; while then and now 

The bugle sound re-echoed shrill 

The hoarse command of our brave Ted ; 

We could not shirk at this grand moment, 

For each heart leaped where 'twas led. 

When sudden inferno broke on the air, 

And wild the scene in an instant came. 

For from the heights there sprang the blow, 

And line on line of ghastly flame. 

There were bullets, bullets, bullets ! 

All around us in the air ! 
Howling bullets, shrieking bullets. 

Shells and bombs were bursting there! 
"Forward men!" the cry was carried; 

"Cut the fence and scale the wall I 
Care ye not for weak destruction, 

"Forward men, my heroes all !'* 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 117 

Up and up the spirit called them ; 

Bullets ! Bullets flying fast ! 
"Wave the standard, Color-bearer! 

Colors LEAD, but never last!" 

The youthful lad, drest in fatigue, 

The blood-mark streaming from his head, 

Sprang forward quickly at the order 

E'en though the soul was filled with dread. 

Ne'er e'er this had he faced destruction, 

Although his heart had leapt with fear, 

Yet forward pressed he, ever forward. 

Knowing his danger, strangling, drear; 

For 'tis not he who runs pell-mell 

Into the jaws of waiting death 

Without the knowledge, cause, or thought 

Of what awaits, should wear the wreath 

Of hero's name ; but he who knows 

Full well the doom and sting hid there. 

And still persists, puts down despair 

And ventures all, — for Him the cheer! 

For him the plaudits of mankind 

Should ring in echoes from above. 

He fronts Grim Death with smiling face 

And dares the dregs of Fate for love; 

And so this lad, when hearts had quailed, 

Led on the struggling, reeking mass ; 

Far in advance his guerdon led them 

Until he scaled the angry pass. 

With bullets, bullets, bullets ! 

Howling round his youthful head. 
And bullets, bullets, bullets ! 

Piling up the ghastly dead. 
Did he waver, shrink, or falter 

On the brink beyond the wall? 
Not a moment dipped the banner, 

But again we hear his call ! 
"Forward, comrades ! See them scatter ! 



liS STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Onward! Onward, to the fray! 
God, I thank thee for thy goodness ! 
Help us drive the fiends away !'' 

Through the horrid din of battle 
Far and far they heard the cry; 
His it was to lead the vanguard; 
His it was to do and die. 
Clouds of shrivelling, writhing sulphur 
Roared around in angry might; 
Fiends incarnate, fiends of slaughter. 
Waged for wrong, and fought for right. 
Cannon crashing, belched and bellowed, 
While above and through the sound. 
Hoarse commands and blast of bugle 
Urged the staggering heroes 'round. 
Just an instant paused the ensign 
As he sprang within the wall 
With a cheer of boyish victory, — 
Then gave forth his clarion call : 
"Forward, comrades ! See them scatter ! 

Onward! Onward, to the fray! 
God, I thank thee for thy goodness I 

Help us drive the fiends away !" 

But in that moment, with bold pennant 
Swinging high aloft the mound. 
Came a saber on the temple 
And he sank low to the ground. 
Still he feebly waved his banner, 
Feebly called he as he lay, 
"Onward, comrades, press ye forward! 
See them run ! We've won the day !" 

And there were bullets, bullets, bullets! 

All around us in the air ! 
How they howled and screeched and bellowed ! 

How the men were dying there! 
Shrieked the cannister as it hurtled 



PATRIOTIC POEMS 119 

Through the ranks of wavering men ; 
Groans of anguish rose to heaven, 

And the battle shout again ! 
Nothing daunts them, — iorward — faster! 

Cheer on cheer o'ertops the cry ! 
While the bitter boom of bullets. 

Bullets, bullets! reach the sky. 



Gently, soft and slow we laid him 
On the grass now trampled o'er; 
While the heavens seemed to sadden 
At the stain upon her floor. 
All with head low-bent, uncovered, 
And sad tears in many eyes. 
For 'tis not the arrant coward, 
Alas, 'tis oft the hero dies. 
Breezes, fragrant perfumed breezes, 
Lade with myrrh, magnolia, pine, 
Spread its hallowed nature's incense 
Through the silent sylvan shrine; 
While anon far through the distant 
Hush of sorrow in the glade 
Came the low and solemn rolling 
Of the drumbeats in the shade. 
"God of Battle, is it worthy 
For thy bravest men to die ? 
Must the dismal death take every 
Hero soul that fain would try?" 
Soon with hectic moan and eflfort 
Gently raised upon his arm. 
And with dying breath he murmured 
And gasped out his last alarm: 

"Never mind the bullets, bullets! 

Let them screech up in the air ! 
Let them howl and scream and bellow, 



120 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

They'll not harm you while they're there, 
Let the enemy see your colors, 

Face the Spaniards on the Hill ! 
Let them know that hearts and honor 

In our ranks are beating still! 
Forward men ! Ah ! forward, faster ! — 

Cheer on cheer raise to the sky ! 
Never-mind-the-hiss-of -bullets!" — 

Then his soul sought rest on high. 



PEP POEMS 



PEP POEMS 



JUST KEEP AGOIN' 

If the world looks dark to you — keep agoin', 
If you don't know what to do — ^keep agoin', 
If the skies no more are blue, 
And your friends no more are true, 
If the coins on hand are few, 
Why, don't you care. 
Just keep agoin' ! 

If you're tired — lost your way — keep agoin', 
If your boss has said you nay — keep agoin'. 
What's the difference what they say. 
Tomorrow's as good as any day, 
Now's the time to make your hay. 
Just whet your scythe — 
And keep agoin' ! 

Some folks push you off the track? keep agoin'! 
If in a boat just change your tack — keep agoin'. 
Every man must bear his pack. 
And very few will make their stack; 
Just watch your turn, and take your whack. 
Oh — it will come — 
But keep agoin'! 

If all ideals have turned thin air — ^keep agoin'. 
Don't waste your time in blank despair — keep agoin'. 
Only the bold will win the fair, 
There's many a bird up in the air. 
There's fun in life, forget your care, — 
Just take a hold — 
And keep agoin' ! 

Reprinted from College News, 1899. 

123 



124 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SMILIN' THROUGH 

You can boast all you want to 'bout the man who's made 

his pile. 
And can say that he is jolly and he always has a smile ; 
He may even be good-natured and may have a mighty 

laugh, 
And the people may all love him 'cause he shares his 

good things half, 
Giving to the poor and needy, to the trodden down 

and blue, 
But his measure is his power to just keep a-smilin' 

through. 

Can he keep that smile agoin* when his fortune's swept 

away? 
Can he share his daily pittance, and do it every day? 
When his million bone? have shrunken until they're 

down to pan, 
Can he shrug his drooping shoulders and be a smiling 

man? 
Can he do down 'mong the many what he did when 

among the few? 
Can he take the kicks of fortune and keep a-smilin' 

through ? 

Ah, 'tis easy to give a pittance, when you've more than 
you can spend; 

And its fun to scatter largess, when your fortune's with- 
out end ; 

It is nought to smile and carol when the wolves are 
far away. 

But it is a different story when at your door they bay. 

It's hard to share your meager wage when it nearly 
beggars you; 

It's hard to face the ugly world an' keep a-smilin' 
through. 



PEP POEMS 125 

The man I think a hero is the one who takes his blows, 
The one who mutters grimly that he's goin' to face his 

foes, 
And facing his tormentors still has a moment free 
To share his crust and bowl of soup with one more 

poor than he, — 
One who can keep his head up high and to his faith be 

true, — 
The man who never slinks nor whines, but keeps a-smilin* 

through. 



126 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SUCCESS 

Success is not jist cash and rents, 
Nor is it jist yer dollars and cents, 
It' s more than last will and testaments, 

For it's the stuff yer made uv, old man. 
Ye may have yer gold and silver bills, 
And may pile up yer coin in yer creaking tills. 
But Success isn't turned out by the paper mills, 

It's a heapin' lot more than that, old man. 

To hear some men ye'd mostly feel 
That Success is puttin' across a deal 
That's big, no matter how big the steal, 

But it ain't, old boy, and ye know it. 
Some books would diagram Success, 
And see it like a game of chess. 
But follow it through — it's but a mess, 

For it's in the heart, and good eyes show it. 

No, no, my boy, it's more than gold. 
Just gettin' of money is awful old. 
The pirate gets his, but cash is cold. 

And success means more than that. 
You may have yer bonds and yer ill-got wealth, 
And yer precious stones which ye stole by stealth, 
But ye've ruined yer soul, and ye've lost yer health, 

And yer Faith has left ye flat. 



PEP POEMS 127 



THE PEPTOMANIAC 

I Ve heard more freaks and seen more freaks, 

Than you can find the space 

In many homes for luny domes 

Or any other place. 

But the wooziest one allowed to run 

The city streets alone 

Is the maniac who is off his track 

About the supertone. 

The supertone? Just telephone 

The nut-house in your town; 

They'll quick explain with cold disdain 

That many have come down. 

It is the gink who tries to think 

That he alone has knack 

To run the nation, or all creation, — 

The Peptomaniac. 

His mind is dim, but he has the vim 

To make a ponderous noise. 

All things are slow, they have no go ; 

"Speed up, there, all you boys!" 

Now just get hep and put some pep 

Into the work in hand. 

Just as I said, you men are dead. 

Come on and start the bandT' 

No matter how fast the train has passed. 
He calls it mighty slow; 
And a far-flung brick may travel quick. 
But to him it has no go. 



128 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

All men but him are on the rim 

Of the grave and falling in, 

But he, good Lord ! To hear his word — 

He only knows how to win. 

Our college yell is always hell, 

When that man is around, 

For he says we are dead or poorly fed, — 

A babe could make more sound. 

It makes him weep — we are asleep — 

We have a fearful rep; 

He calls us bumps, he has the jumps. 

And shouts to "git more pep." 

Oh yas, oh yas, we take his sass. 

And obediently we raise 

Our weakly wails in languid hails 

Against our easy days; 

For that pest has come, and things 

must hum 
Until we jamb him back. 
He'll wake us up, like a boisterous pup. 
Hang the Peptomaniac! 



PEP POEMS 129 



WHAT, NOT WHO 

The world has changed since long ago, 
Has changed, and tho it's funny, 
A man's known not by his graceful bow. 
Nor alone for his pater's money. 
The world loves not the baser view. 
It looks for actions, noble true. 
We ask to-day not "Who are you ?" 
But just, my boy, "What can you do?'* 

Bold youth strikes out with vaunting air 
And makes wide proclamation. 
"Behold," he cries, "my record fair, 
I come from ancient nation; 
My family tree contained the glow 
Of a crown and cross in the long ago; 
My blood is blue,— " "But hold ! E'en so," 
We cry, "my boy what can you do?" 

Sweet maid looks wide upon the world 
And sighs for the conquest's admiration; 
For her the joys, but slow unfurled. 
Breaks forth in eager contemplation. 
She, too, descends from ancient blue. 
The Pilgrim Fathers, and Generals, too, — 
But soft. My child, the times are new. 
Not what They were, — ^What can you do? 

Worship not the titles of long ago. 

Nor the dead in the far-gone past; 

Worship not the blood that used to glow. 

Nor the legends of domains vast ; 

All that in song may softly play. 

Or tales and rhymes may beauty show. 

But in the strife of stern to-day 

'Tis not dead past. — What can you do? 



I30 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

So in this fray gird armor on, 

Nor fail to know the mandate stern 

That Life means Strife; when once begun 

We from our folHes soon must turn, 

And with deep faith and highest vow 

Turn face to Heaven and Forward go; 

Forget the past and live in now; 

And show the World what you can do. 



PEP POEMS 131 



SOAK HIM ! 

If you meet a cur today; 

Soak him! 

If a skunk gets in your way; 

Soak him! 
This is no time to stop and say, 
"If you please, just run away!" 
Poke the slanderer where'er you may. 

Soak him! 

Nail the gossip's sneaking lie; 
Soak him! 
Kick his bunk into the sky; 

Soak him! 
You can beat him if you try 
For each calumny you decry 
Bangs the groucher in the eye. 
Soak him! 

Boy's, you hear that tramp of men? 

They'll soak him. 
Two million strong will soon be ten 

To soak him. 
We're going to win, it will be fun 
This war for work is just begun 
You'll have a job when it is done. 
Soak him! 



132 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



FINE DAY 

Half of the world needs a word of cheer, 
They have eyes to see and ears to hear, 
But their hearts are dead and full of pain, 
Or their minds are seared, or their souls are islain, 
But a word of joy may their sorrows allay. 
Jist grasp their hands and full-voiced say — 
**Fine day, old man, fine day !" 

You see a cripple drag along the drive, 
All twisted and doubled and half alive, 
Jist a word of pep, a hearty hail 
Will alway hearten ; 'twill never fail ; 
It will drive most any old trouble away, 
Jist stick out your paw and smiling say, 
"Fine day, old man, fine day!" 

Perhaps the brokers have double-crossed 
Your friend, he's down, his pile is lost. 
Or the banks foreclosed on his bungalow. 
And his heart and life are filled with woe. 
If all is dark, you can set him aright 
By a word of confidence; turn on the light, 
Grab his old hand, and with firm clasp say, 
"I believe in you, lad, fine day, fine day !" 



PEP POEMS 133 



LITTLE DOGS YAP AT THE BIG DOG'S HEELS 

The little dogs yap at the big dog's heels, 

Look at that, lad, and ponder; 
They snarl at the bones that the big dog steals; 

See how their eyes gape in wonder! 
The little dogs grumble when the big makes good, 
They howl and they sneer while the big saws wood, 
And they mine his trenches while the big sweats 
blood, 

For little dogs know their blunder. 

The coyotes snarl at the grizzly's heel; 

A weasel's mind thinks weasel; 
The rats will filch from a lion's meal. 

For a measly skunk acts measel. 
No matter how big may the big bear be. 
The coyotes and skunks will have jealousy. 
And instead of climbing themselves, they try 

To make the big bear foozle. 

And so do we find it in human life, 

The do-noughts snap at the worker. 
The little warped mind sneers at the big mind's 

strife, 
And the doer is slandered by the shirker. 
The big man labors the full day through, 
Nor seeks he his rest but to self is true. 
He achieves, and does what God made him to do, 

But is maligned by the lurker. 



134 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

So the little dogs yap at the big dog's heels, — 

A lesson, lad, and a warning; 
No matter how fine or how clean he feels, 

In small hearts rage is burning. 
There is always the sneer and the snarl for fame, 
And the muck and the slime to smear a fair name, 
For the little dog thinks that is part of the game, 

So the little dog snarls all morning. 

But what if the little pups do snarl and snap, 

Will that stop a man from winning? 
Why, the big man makes good and he don't give a rap 

For the howls that the small fry are dinning. 
There are bigger things in his great broad path. 
And he has no time for spite and wrath; 
To him will be added much to what he hath. 

And his true work is but beginning. 



PEP POEMS 135 



THE MAN WITH THE DISH-RAG HEART 

Here's verses to the man with the dish-rag heart; 
To the world he is great, to his friends he is smart ; 
But to the elect who know his true game, 
He's a rotter and quitter and filled with shame. 
He has climbed by stealth to a place of high rank, 
He juggles the funds in a gold-plated bank, 
But a sham is his honor, he's his smile but a part. 
For he is that half man 

With a dish-rag heart. 

To his friends in success he has always a smile. 
And you'd think that his heart was clean without guile; 
But if the hook gouges in the back of a man, 
'Tis a mark for the door — dirty water in the pan; 
With a smirk he will size you to see if you prove 
To have a big pull with the powers above. 
But if storms of disaster e'er become your part 
It's "Get out, sir," by the man 
With the dish-rag heart. 

How we loath such a man who has a veneer 

Upon his good face but is filled with fear 

That his august acquaintance will prove but a beggar. 

And his closest of friends turn out but a pegger. 

For his measure of man to kowtow and to salam 

Is the sign of the dollar though bought by his shame, 

And he smirks to the monied, but his frowns are an art. — ■ 

That's the style of the goof 

With the dish-rag heart. 



136 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



BUCK UP! 

Buck up there, man, and raise your head, 
And look the world right in the eye; 
What if your plans have all gone dead. 
What if your friends have each one fled, 
You still have brawn to earn your bread, 
And there are other plans you can try; 
So buck up ! 

Buck up there, man, and strike out strong, 
Nor flinch at all if the wollop is hard ; 
You can start again, for the day is long, 
No matter who may have done you wrong 
You can meet it fair with a lilt of song ; 
You had no cinch on the world's regard; 
So buck up! 

Buck up there, man! There are better days 
Than ever the sun has shone upon ; 
There are fairer flowers, and smoother ways. 
Clearer skies and bluer bays. 
And Life holds more in its mystic maze 
Than was ever lost in the yester-gone; 
So buck up! 

The world takes off its hat to all 
Who meet it bold, uncowed and true, 
It spurns the cur who fears to fall. 
And gleefully bumps the tottering wall; 
But it vaunts the man who braves its call. 
And that man, my friend, may well be you; 
So buck up, old man, buck up! 



PEP POEMS 137 



HIT HARD IF YOU HIT AT ALL 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 
If you don't you are working for a fall, 
For the other fellow is going to do the same, 
And pretty soon that man will have the name 
That you have sought, — of being the best 
Man in your line; and the rest 
Of the world will laud him to the skies. 
While for you there will be just nought but sighs,: — 
So 
Hit hard if you hit at all. 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 
You may be short and your opponent tall, 
But get a ladder if you reach his nose, 
Or a pair of stilts, or step on his toes. 
Don't whine and stand there half afraid. 
No better man than you was ever made. 
The other fellow is just as scared as you, 
And wonders just what you will do ; 
So 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 

But first be sure that hitting is your call. 

Don't hit a man, if hitting may be wrong 

For decent words have carried lots of good along. 

You may be the one who may have erred. 

While the other man can prove it with a word; 

But if you are right, and know you are right 

Then hit first in a big whopping fight. 

And 

Hit hard if you hit at all 



138 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 

A puny bunt has never carried a three-bag ball; 

A gentle love-pat never gets you anywhere 

Except a cushioned seat in an invalid's chair. 

No man with red blood in his pounding vain 

Will sneak around the ring to welch again, 

But force the gaff and step up like a man ; 

They will know you were there when the fight began. 

So 

Hit hard if you hit at all. 



PEP POEMS 139 



I'LL NOT BE A SLACKER 

The other day a wise man said 

He'd rather be aHve than dead, — 

A Hving beast of the unploughed field 
Than any dead prince with a mitered shield, 
A living lecherous lustful fly, 
Than a dead king Cyrus with glassy eye, 
A living snake curled in the grass 
Than a mouldering Czar with a casque of brass, 
A living anything upon the earth. 
Than a long-dead prophet in his land of birth. 

The glow of his apostrophe 

Was in the thought of "just to be," 

To feel the sun in its golden splendor, 

To feel the breezes warm and tender. 

To know that he on earth was one, 

And that his life was just begun, — 

No matter how low or high estate 

He'd rather be that than intestate. 

But to me "just living" means more than life, 
It means a doer in this world of strife, 

A Doer a Be-er, a Thinker, a man^ 
A king of all beasts since the world began, 

A Liver, a Fighter, and not just exist. 

For a clod on the sod the best things has missed. 

I'll not be a slacker and slink through time. 

For I believe that my objective is much more isublime. 

I believe that God put me here to do 

The best that my brain and my brawn can put through; 

The best that my heart and my soul can command ; 

The bestj so that few in the strife can withstand. 



140 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Let that wise (?) man on his belly crawl 

Let him slink in the grass or the rushes tall, 

Let him blink at the sun on a warmed-up stone, 

Or ooze deep in the slime, abhorrent, alone; 

As for me, I would live each fast-passing day. 

So that the morrow will come more joyously; 

I will smile and I'll sing, and work mighty hard 

To be better and strike harder with my pen or my 

sword, 
I'll live cleaner, think purer, and hdp on my way, 
Till God will summon me to him and will say: 
"Well done, faithful servant, so enter thou in. 
For thy moments were too busy to pander to sin, 
Thy hours were spent in thy talent's just use. 
And wastage had no portion, and sloth no abuse; 
Thy hands are clean, tho hardened by toil. 
But, thy Soul hath grown greatly in earth's wild turmoil, 
Enter thou in, for death ends not all. 
It is but the beginning, — await thou my call." 
And I know I would rather be a long time dead. 
And still throb to the sobs of the poor o'er my head 
Than be a living scorpion or object of scorn, 
And slink sullenly, abhorrent, ea^h morn unto morn. 



PEP POEMS 141 



THE HEARTY HAND-SHAKE 

Did you ever, in walking along the street, 
Shake hands with a friend you chanced to meet, 
And in shaking discover, with a weary sigh, 

That the palm which you grasp 

Had the insipid clasp 
Of a weakling — so listless and dry? 

Did you ever in seeming friendly array. 
Bring a smile on your face into active play. 
And with gusto becoming a hearty good fellow 

Attempt to inspire then 

Some kindred fire in — 
To the hand which is weak and so shallow ? 

While out to a function and having a time. 
Were you ever introduced to one *'Oh, so prime," 
And in shaking her dainty flabby white paw. 
Press it hard then drop it. 
Like a rag or a puppet. 
For so weak it would flipflap and saw? 

If you've ever been subject to this class of being 
Who insipidly shake, ne'er acknowledging or 
seeing. 
Who have no power in their dainty white hand 
And wince when you shake it with a little sand. 
Then you I address ; to you I am speaking ; 
For I know that, like I, for revenge you are 

seeking. 
We'll put up a job — just lend me your ear; 
(Press nearer my friend, so well you may hear) 
If any such another comes e'er o'er your path. 



142 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And insipidly shaking arouses your wrath, 

Simply shake his rag palm till he's .shook out of 

breath, 
And squeeze his insipidness until he chatters his 

teeth ; 
Bow low, and in mockery obeisance then make, 
And teach him the language of 
A Hearty Hand-Shake. 



PEP POEMS 143 



LOOKING FOR TROUBLE 

In my ambling through this valley 

Of not unalloyed ddight, 
I have very often wondered 
At the very funny sight 
Of some people who are ever 

On the watch to make a kick, 
And when they see a head out 
Have the itch to heave a brick. 
They're the folks who talk molasses, 
When they're not behind your back. 
But as soon as you're not looking 
They will steal your little stack. 
And when you have won the corn-cob 

They will cheer you around the town, 
But when once you get the hatchet 

They will kick you while you're down. 
For I know this type of blue jay 
Will soon meet his Waterloo, 
So don't ever trouble trouble, 
Till that trouble 
Troubles 
You. 

Now, I know that in this hamlet 

There are many of this ilk, 
Who are all the time pretending 

They are fine as finest silk, 
But just once give them the token 

That they have a coming kick, 
And you'll see enough of trouble 

Then to fairly make you sick. 
Why, just open up the doorway 



144 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

So's to let the knockers in, 
And you'll very soon be floating 
In the kicks up to your chin ; 
Oh, they'll flock around your office. 

And they'll stack about your room. 
Until you think the brightest sunshine 
Was no more than midnight gloom. 
Yes, they'll wrangle there and jangle, 
And the air will grow dark blue. 
So I say, don't trouble trouble, 
Till that trouble 
Troubles 
You. 

I have seen some mighty funny 

Things that's kept me young and green. 
I have watched the cunning capers 

Of the three-shell pea or bean. 
Yes, — I've had the laugh in thousands 

At the freaks who daily pass. 
And have sometimes stood in terror 

Of the meter to my gas. 
But I've never seen the day when 

I'd invite the crowd to kick, 
For I know most awful quickly 

They would come almighty thick. 
And it seems to me just crazy 

For a man to heave a club 
Right into a hanging hornet's nest, 

To see the bunch of troub'. 
For most certainly he'll get it — 

In a place that's private, too; 
So, never trouble trouble. 
Till that trouble 
Troubles 
You. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 



MY DAILY TASK 

I sit at my desk and ponder, 
What shall I write to-day ? 
I'd rather be way out yonder 
A-fishin' in Miami Bay; 
I'd rather be tramping the hillside 
Or pounding the pill o'er the lea; 
I'd rather take off my garments, 
And take a cool dip in the sea. 

I know that I ought to be working, 
My pencil should be flying fast ; 
But I feel just like a shirking, 
And I'd skip if I'd ever dast; 
But the editor up there is waiting 
For my daily effort in rhyme. 
So there is no use in debating. 
It's got to be done on time. 

But what to write I just can't guess 
Because I'm not right in the mood, 
And what I'd write I must confess 
Would to-day be not of much good. 
So here I sit with my waiting pad, 
And chew the stub of my slothful pen, 
I can't be gay, and I can't be sad, 
So I guess I'll go out and talk with men. 

I'll go and ask the boys on the links 

What they think of the dimate, the birdu, 

the sky, 
And I'll whack at the ball and settle this jinx, 
And then come back for another try. 

147 



148 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

I'll take a dip in the pounding surf, 

And a race on the sands of the sloping shore, 

I'll watch the games on the smooth-rolled 

turf 
And return to scribble some more. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 149 



A "FURRIN'^ TRIP 
Nonsense rhymes of a European trip in 191 1 

It's lots of fun to make a run, 

And fills you full of laughter, 

For you're a honey if you've got money, 

And you're the bloke they're after. 

So one fair day we hied away 

And snuck off to the landing. 

And blamed if there, near my steam chair, 

There wasn't a toady standing. 

So round about we tried to get out, 

But the boat began its meanness; 

'Twas lucky, too, that foreign crew 

Left even a sou between us. 

A storm came on and almost gone 

We fed thQ hungry fishes ; 

Oh what a head! We laid in bed 

And wouldn't look at dishes. 

But pretty soon the lovely moon 

Shone down upon the breakers, 

And off to shore, to sail no more. 

But wander on God's acres. 

From Rome to Nice, and wet Venice 

We tumbled in the water. 

The gondolier let out a cheer 

And asked us, what's the matter. 

So to the north to hills of worth 

The Alps and to Geneva; 

My, what a game with some sweet dame! 

I hated much to leave her. 

Through Skagarack and Cattegat 
From North Sea to the Baltic, 
JJp Finland Gulf down Adriat, 



150 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And jerk away to Leipzig, 

And when the thick-skulled German guard 

Insists on seeing your passport 

You slip a cog and take a jog 

And pike right off to Stuttgart. 

It is no sin to view Berlin 

Until the Kaiser passes, 

Then take a jerk, for he's a "turk" 

And slide off to Manasses. 

Down into Spain we flew again 

And jollied Don Quixote, 

But he got mad, and so begad, 

We left his table d'hote. 

We took a snoop at Monsieur Bupe, 

Who bellowed out his orders. 

His beef was rare, he tore his hair, 

And we slid o'er the borders, 

You'd think it strange to know the change 

It took most every day, there. 

To pay the tips to all those dips 

Who stood behind your rest chair; 

They'd rob you blind much like their kind, 

In most delightful manner. 

And if you kick, it's done so slick 

As the skin of a bananner. 

Off then to see the Zuyder Zee 

Where they make red ball cheeses, 

And straight across the Ring-a-loss, 

And feel the northern breezes. 

To Edam then and to Marken, 

The quaintest place in Holland, 

And so by night to that dam site 

Just over in the lowland. 

To Vollendam and Ellendam — 

Let other dams befall them; 

It sounds Hke swearing, but I'm declaring 

It's just what people call them. 

To Brussels Sprout to eat some trout 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 151 

And drink a glass of liquor 

With Leopold there, then with a glare 

The customs flunks will dicker. 

Ha, to Paree where we may see 

The Moulin Rouge at midnight, 

And climb Montmart^^e which like a star 

Will razzle-dazzle you, quite. 

Then down the Seine you float again 

Off to the Latin Quarter, 

The models view, quite naughty too, 

Till you're caught by the Porter, 

A sadder man but wiser than 

You were when you had entered; 

But you have seen the red and green 

Where many steps have ventured. 

In merry France we'll lead the dance 

And stop off at old Rouen, 

But don't you go to red Bordeaux 

If you know what you are doin'. 

Your pants Toulouse? Well then, you 

goose, 
Just run on to Calais 
And when you come back just leave your 

stack 
Before you get away. 

Now to the fogs and through the bogs 

Of England we have wandered. 

And stubbed our toes and bumped our nose 

Where George Third once had blundered; 

And like a dream we had to scheme 

To get into Westminster, 

To Buckingham we took a slam 

And saw some silly spinster, 

Won't tell her name, but you can't blame 

Us for not seeing the Tower, 

For when we went to see a gent, 

We were caught in an awful shower. 

And when we dried, you would have died 



152 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

To see our draggled trousers, 

So to the Hotel we rode like — ^vell 

We didn't like such sousers. 

The Thames was bright in the sunlight 

As we rode on down to Greenwich, 

But we couldn't find the man behind, 

Who ate that cold bean porridge. 

To Stratford thus we took the 'bus — 

To see the home of Shakespeare, 

But when we got there, I must declare. 

They gave us ale for brown beer. 

So we gave up and dropped the cup 

And off on our journeys — 

Soon landed quite about midnight 

Right underneath Old Furness. 

Now take the boat, they've got my goat. 

And hike right off to Queenstown, 

Well I declare, see my grey hair ! 

I leave this place at sundown. 

So to the west, the land of rest 

And peace and sweet contentment, 

\ye'll soon return with brown sunburn 

And lost is all resentment. 

Ah, native land, you beat the band 

Much better than the foreigner. 

If I go 'way again to stay, 

Just you call in the coroner. 

When we get home, no more we'll roam, 

Because our *'mon" is gone, Sir ; 

And now we'll fight from morn till night 

And then on till dawn, sir, 

To get the cash to buy our hash 

And live a humble life, sir. 

With meat and bread, and no swelled head, 

And a quiet little wife, sir. 

For we have learned that we'll get burned 

If we do "furrin meathing," 

Where it will take all dough we rake 

To pay for simple breathing. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 153 



WHEN DAISY COW WENT DRY 

The breakfast food tastes awful flat, 
With the cream I have to use, 
And mud is easier to digest, 
Than the coffee with that ooze 
Which dainty Isabelle brings in, 
And with apologetic sigh 
Sets softly near my steaming cup, — 
Since gentle Daisy cow went dry. 

The children's meals stand lone and cold ; 
Untouched their bread and scorned their 

food, 
While tears will glisten in their eye, 
And mother croons in gentler mood; 
The watery milk the milkman brought 
Would hardly feed a starving fly. 
And so we dawdle at the meal, 
Since gentle Daisy cow went dry. 

One never knows how much he loves 
The common things of every day 
Until he has to do without, — 
And someone has to say him nay. 
He takes the nectar with his food, 
Ambrosia with his meal supply; 
But we never miss the milk in life, 
Until the Daisy cow goes dry. 



154 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE SIMPLE LIFE 

Oh, I wanta' be a farmer 

And lead a simple life, 
A life o* just plain living. 
Far off from crime an strife. 
Oh, I wanta' creep to nature. 
And lay my tired ear 
Down close to the soft, damp furrow, 

The throbs o' the earth to hear. 

Oh, I wanta' be a farmer — 

Not one o' the scheming kind 
Who drives a sharp hard hoss-trade, 

And has an ax to grind; 
But the lazy kind o' farmer 

Who was not born — ^but grew; 
Who just'll work when nature 

Demands a meal or two. 

Oh, I wanta' be a farmer, 

Way out in the hush of the gray. 
Where the stars at night are sleepy eyes. 

An' the world is a million miles away; 
An' there in the languid green o' the grass. 

And the scent o' the sweet an' dew-kissed 
rose, 
I wanta' do nothing but dream an' dream, — 

Just nothing but doze — an' doze — an' doze. 



IN LIGHTER YEIN 155 



THE STRENUOUS LIFE 

Oh, I wanta' be a banker 

And lead a strenuous life, 
A life that's real exciting, 

That fairly reeks with strife; 
I wanta' chase the grizzlies 

Adown the howling lane 
That's paved, they say, with golden bricks. 

An' diamonds strewn between. 

Oh, I wanta' be a banker, 

For I can skin a bull. 
An' act just like a broker, — 

They say he clips the wool. 
I wanta' own a railroad 

And break a Trust or two, — •. 
For that is what a banker 

Is always 'sposed to do. 

Oh, I wanta' be a banker 

An' run this universe. 
An' have my little finger 

In everybody's purse; 
I wanta' wear the diamonds. 

When everyone else is broke. 
And sit in my rolled gold office — 

'N just smoke, — ^an' smoke — an' smoke. 



156 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



WEEDS 

Would I like to plant a flower 

Twined about a woodsy bower? 

Fanned by breezes from the west, 

'Cozzied like an oriole's nest? 

Ah, yes I would, of course I would, 

I love fair nature in lazy mood, 

The waving trees with graceful branches 

Reflected in pools where sweet grass 

dances, 
Humming bees that drone their prayers 
For more nectar than in truth is theirs; 
Bluebirds a flashing on the wing, 
And yellow breasted goldfinch sing. 
Yes, oh yes, I want to grow 
A garden full of goldenglow. 
Gladiolus, roses and sweet pea. 
And pansy faces that smile at me; 

But oh, my hack! just think, the work 
To keep it clean and must not shirk, 
The spade, the hoe and f ulltined rake, 
And ne'er a moment's pleasure take 
Until the sun hath gone to rest 
Adown the hills in the glowing west. 
And the weeds ! How they grow ! 
Tho you club them with a hoe, 
Pull them out with might and main 
And pish, they come right up again. 
Sure, they are a true back-breaker, — 
Think I'll call an undertaker. 



IN OGHTER VEIN 157 

Every farmer has his garden, 
Like state's prison, needs a warden, 
Work from early gray of dawn 
Till last streak of light is gone; 
Then gets ready for the morrow, 
Such ducks have no time for sorrow. 
Yes, I'd like to plant a flower. 
But guess I'll wait and "get the power." 



158 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SECRETS 

She had a secret she would tell, 

A secret for her dearest friend, 

And in her breast her heart would swell 

And swell and swell until the trend 

Of her whole work by day, by night, 

Would halt and pause, and in its flight 

Time did drag and heavy hang, 

Until her heart's blood tingling rang 

In ears and voice and flushed her throat 

And pulsed her breast, and flashed her eye, 

And one most marvelled at the thought 

That one small crypt could bring such joy. 

For 

She had a secret she fain must tell — 

And a secret told must be told well. 

She had a secret, and all day long 

Her heart had burst her lips in song; 

Her head had swum above the cloud, 

And she dared not breathe one word aloud, 

For she had a secret, — mark it well; 

For often secrets are forged in hell. 

She had a secret, with changing mien 

She wondered if her thoughts were seen. 

And she furtive gazed in dread about 

To see if her secret had 'hap leaked out; 

But no. The world was slow, and she 

Was busy at her work; and we 

Who stayed about the self-conscious maid 

Had never guessed she was afraid; 

For 

She had a secret, had the minx, 

That would have flushed the brow of Sphinx. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 159 

She had a secret, and bare could wait 
Until the gong had clanged eight, 
When her dear friend across the way 
Would return from work and run in to play 
And gossip, and tell the choicest bits 
Of news of George, and who gave fits 
To whom adown in the peaceful shop 
Where the girls were models, with hats atop 
Their coiffs, that petted wives would wear 
On ravished wigs or frizzled hair. 

And when she came, ah, how she blushed, 
And how the blood to her cheeks rushed. 
And how she gasped with a gladdened cry, 
And how the sparkles flashed into her eye! 
For she had a secret — for bad or good — 
But I won't tell it — I never would — 
For she had a secret, — it is her own; 
So the secret secret shall not be blown 
To the winds. 

SHE had a secret. 



i6o STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



ELAINE, I WOULD LIKE TO BITE THEE 

OR PERHAPS 

(THE VAMP DREAM GIRL) 

A travesty on the drivel published in some of our highbrow 

magazines 

Elaine, I would like to bite thee. 

Bite thee, Elaine, and see the look of surprise 

Spring from out of the air into thine eyes. 

For I know thou carest nought for me, 

But prefer to live a life, unchained and free. 

But still Elaine, I fain would bite thee, 

If that would only affright thee. 

And for that, the King of the Imps would Knight me. 

For ah ! the very devil is in thy eyes, Elaine. 

The imp-spirit-urge in thy heart, EJaine; 

So there, Elaine, I would like to bite thee. 

Elaine, I would like to bite thee; 

Bite thy red lips when I draw the honey dew 

From thy lost soul that I would woo; 

Thy red lips that mocked and teased and scorned 

me, 
When I fain sought to press and caress thee. 
Altho such thoughts harass me, 
lYet, Elaine, I would like to bite thee. 
Bite thee until it would near delight me. 
To see thy eyes open wide just once. 
And know that thy barriers are down. 
Thy ever-ready arrow of scorn has flown, 
Thy demure bewitching reserve has blown, — 
Ah, Elaine, I would like to bite thee! 



IN LIGHTER VEIN i6i 

Elaine, I would like to bite thee 

Upon thy velvety cheek where the flush 

Of demure modesty might steal, or blush 

Of innocence return to rape the hush 

Of the beating of thy heart. Oh, Elaine, 

I would truly like to bite thee 

Upon thy soft neck, where pulses the fairy blood 

Which I would drink from out thy cup 

Of centuried love. For thou art mine, 

Altho, alas, I can never be all thine. 

I thrill to touch thy amorous breasts, 

Thy mound-tipped breasts with promise o'erfull 

Of heart's delight, of mother-nectar for thy child. 

And blush, my dear, I true would have wild 

Visioned passion compass thee within our nest, 

That no moment shall of Time be dull, 

And have thee all alone, alone forever, 

Until e'en ages forgets 'tis never. 

Ah, Elaine, I would like to bite thee! 

Elaine, I would like to bite thee. 

That brow ! those eyes ! those lips, and neck 

Those arms whitened and soft, and ankle slender, 

Shoulders drooped, and breasts so tender 

That all the desires of a century would wreck 

Itself could men obtain one glance. 

Forgotten would be sense, the heart would dance, — 

And still I fain would like to bite thee. 

Just to see, ah, to see most joyfully 

Whether in all this iris eyeful 

I have had of thee, thru day, thru night. 

Yes, whether thou art real, art truly flesh 

That by some charm might vanish from my sight. 

With all thy art thy "come hither" look 

And "stay there" decree, enticing eyes that mock, 

But stern reserve when almost thawed, — 

And ways that make me think of my mother's 

God; 
I still would try to test thee to find, 



1 62 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Altho the heart of mortal man be blind, 

To find if any mite of human flesh 

Or bone or earthly substance would within you 

mesh, — 
Could lie hidden within that soft pearly casket 
Of thy skin, whether within that basket 
Of precious stones one spark is true, — 
Whether thou art Human, old or new. 
Human, Superhuman, Divine, 

Or just Plain Devil! 
Elaine, I would like to bite thee. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 163 



A SPRING TOAST 

(A sadly-rhymed bit of nonsense written to interest my, 

little folks) 



Far down in the southern peninsula 
Where brightly shines the sun, 

Where orange trees bloom continually, 
And trickling rivulets run; 

Where the perfume of the magnolia 
Mingles fragrance in the air. 

And the warbles of the orioles 
Show Nature free from care; 

Where flowers bud and blossom 

All seasons of the year. 
Where love is ever rampant. 

And Nature knows no tear; 

Far down, where beauty aboundeth. 
And foliage thick and green 

Complete a perfect picture 
Of softened Raphael sheen; 

Where harmony of happy friendship 

Mingle in thoughts of love, 
And symphony of forest-warblers 

In inspiring rhythm move; 

Where ambrosial cups of happiness 

Are ever to the lips. 
And Cupid touches gently 

All hearts with arrow tips; 



1 64 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

There, there is Life's Elysium, 

There is the haven of joy; 
There, there resided a fairy, 

And also a bashful boy. 

Full many a time had they wandered 

'Neath skies of azure hue, 
With twinkling stars above them, — 

Had sworn there to be true. 

Full of times idly dreaming 

In paths secluded, still. 
This lad and fairy strolled 

Discussing her father's will. 

Of ambition had he a plenty, 

Imbued with passion's fire. 
But as for asking her papa, 

He couldn't face his ire. 

For the old man thought him youthful, 
('Tween you and me, he was right) 

And he thought his one little daughter 
A midget fairy, quite. 

"H'm, h'm," said he when he saw her 
In maidenly dress of white; 

A mere little witch in pinafores, 
"No wedding yet, My Light." 

But Cupid laughed at his blindness, 
And the lovers, still they loved; 

The birds looked on in gladness, 
And Moon and Stars approved. 

The magnolias shook out their fragrance, 

Incense hung in the air; 
All combined to bless the union, 

Save papa's indifferent stare. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 165 

One day, it was in springtime 

When all was bright and clear. 
And papa sipped his julep 

In the arbored rustic chair. 

Feeling as gay as a kitten, 

As young as in his teens. 
And chuckled at the sunshine 

Which filtered through the vines. 

The lad stood stammering and stuttering, 
With hat in hand stood spluttering, 
Yet never a word was uttering 

Before the astonished dad, 

Who a moment previous had 

Forgotten the beautiful spring. 

All thoughts of anything, 

And simply, o'ercome by the heat. 

Fell back in his rustic seat. 

Snoring a healthy snore 

As though to wake no more. 

The young lover with heart in his throat 

Surprisedly gazed on the sleeper. 
And stumbling attempted to awaken 

The serenader from his stupor. 

But do what he would, though hem and cough, 
The noise which he made was not loud enough 
To drown out the noise, which like a volcano 
From out of that sleeper's proboscis did flow. 
He'd stamp and then cough in poetical meter. 
But with bugle-like snore "Pa" went him one better ; 
Till growing quite desperate, about to depart. 
When with a dull groan "Pa" woke with a start. 

A little insect, harmless enough. 
Not knowing what was to come. 



1 66 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Saw a large cavern in the place it alit, 
And inquisitively entered the room. 
Like the mythical wife of the mythical giant 
The inquisitive bug had not time to repent. 
A pecuHar influx of fast moving air 
Caught the intruder and carried him far 
Down into the cavern and lodged him there, 
Where, as Fate would have it 

Did strangle and choke 
And making him cough. 

The sleeper awoke. 

While the lad stood stammering and stutter- 
ing, 
With hat in hand stood spluttering, 
Quite frightened, not a word uttering 
Before the astonished dad, 
Who awaking, yet dreaming, was mad. 
"Well ?" thundered the loving papa, 
"Why are you here? I vow 
You've been standing and staring 
Like a sunfish or herring 
In that detestable bearing 
For an hour in the sun. Come now. 
Speak out." And his voice softening, 
By seeing his julep a glistening 
In the warm sun's slanting ray — 
"Come, drink a sweet bumper, my boy." 

Low stooping and bowing the lad does accept, 
But mumbling a protest he looks at the vet ; 
For fearful at displeasing, yet longing to say 
His mission of missions and then get away. 

The dear old codger pours out a full glass. 
And holding aloft as though to say mass 
Allowing the sun to strike through the cheer 
And cast red reflections on everything near. 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 167 

He smiled a broad smile and frowned a big frown, 
Forgot his companion and — ^gulped it down. 
Then quickly remembering the duties of host, 
Filled another and presenting proposed a toast. 

"The ladies, the ladies, — to all the dear girls 
Who keep us a guessing, yet rarer than pearls. 
As essential to man as his julep and pipe, 
Our loving and loved ones, — the ladies, by Cripe!" 

With a low laugh and gurgle, the julep they quaffed 

And thus together, the lad here vouchsafed 

To broach the delicate matter: 

For — happy inspiration, — 

The toast, (the epicure's creation) 

Opened the way to what he would say 

About his fairy-like daughter. 

Full eloquent he waxed, describing a maid 

With wondrous eyes, of whom it was said 

That she was an angel, fairy in disguise, 

Madonna or goddess, or otherwise. 

Her long, flowing hair did purity impart, 

Had wound its gold self around his young heart. 

He ranted and raved, most poetically describing 
A mythical being who nearby was hiding. 
The old gent for a moment stopped sipping his wine, 
For the novice's actions he could not divine. 

In amazement he listened and wondering 

What a peculiar inspiration this description could be, 

Then stopping the lad, to the lad said he, 

"What in Croesus is the name of the thing?" 

The birds looking on, chirped a response; 

The new-budding flowers they nodded their head ; 
A bunch of gold curls rushed up with a laugh, — 

"Why, Fan is the name, and she I would wed." 



1 68 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

"Fan? Fan? My Fan? Why man you are mad! 
Little Fan? This Fan? — She belongs to her Dad! 
Now there little tootsy, you silly little goose, 
She loves me too much, sir, too much, sir, — let loose." 

This to the young man who with brass for nerve, 
Had encircled the waist of the golden-haired dove, 
And whispering love, stood facing the wrath 
Of a southern man's will, who stood in his path. 

"Why, papa," she pleaded, 

"You know I love you, 
But papa, oh, papa, 

I love Alfred too. 
And, papa, why papa, 

As Mother you did love. 
By loving my Alfred 

My girlhood I prove. 
So do, papa — please, papa. 

Do give your consent. 
And bless us dear father. 

Now there is a saint." 

Low warbled the throat of the singing brown thrush; 
The hum of the bees was heard in the hush; 
Perfume sweet was waft on the breeze. 
And lonely sighs rustle through the green trees. 
The sky overhead of deepness so blue 

Bespoke from its depths of lovers here true. 

For who can resist the graces and art 

Of a pleading so subtle which comes from the heart, 
Who turn a deaf ear to the will of true love, 

When blood of your heart thus eloquent doth 
prove ? 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 169 

Who ruthless deny the hope and the will 
Of a loved little sylph, who loving you still. 

Obeys the direction of Nature and God, 
And loving another, that other would wed? 

The common lot — the right and power 

We cannot resist — it is our dower. 
Cupid, a cruel little tyrant he is ; 

Heaven pity the skeptics who ever refuse 
To obey their souPs longings, 'thout friendship or love 

Disgruntled exist, and then sink to the grave. 

The old gentleman trembled and then heaving a sigh 
Turned to the bumper, for he felt quite dry. 
And hastily brushing a renegade tear. 
Forced a sad smile on his face to appear; 
And putting a jovial air over his pain, 
Poured out three glasses and toasted again. 

"Good gracious, great thunder! 

Why hang it all, man. 
Why didn't you say so, — 

You can have little Fan. 
My blessing, God bless you, 

Why take her, my lad, 
And may she love you 

As she does her old Dad. 
Why bless you, — ha, ha,^ — 

That is a good one. 
H'm — Take her and — get out, — 

You rascals, be gone! 
Away for the present — 

That is a good joke — 
I'll — ^get — used to it in time, lad, — " 

— But here his voice broke. 



I70 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



DEATH 

A FANTASY 

Death leaned against the low-browed precipice 
O'er-looking the haunts of men, 
Reflecting on ages of gain, 
And heaved a weary sigh. 

Long since his horns were blunt and worn, 
Withered his tail, with edges torn, 
And low drooping tusks. He looked forlorn. 
A tear lurked in his eye. 

"Why kill these poor mortals all off like this? 
(They're becoming too good for my blood; 
TheyVe settled too much on one God.) 
Why compel the poor devils to die? 

For each one that I kill or poke in the ground 

I find another is nigh. 
Each one I entice to commit some rank crime. 
And committing it soon seek death 

(Seek myself, for I and Old Nick are one) 
Another poor sinner takes breath. 

"More receiving birth than I can kill; 

More going to Heaven than down to Hell; 
Still more are living than death they take, — 
Though poisoned ambrosia and nectar I make 
To instil in their mind, and sin awake. 

What am I to do if continue it will? 

More births than deaths — and a hole in Hell ! 

Over-worked now, though ceaseless am I, 

I cannot compel all Creation to die." 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 171 

And he leaned against the low-browed precipice, 

O'er looking the haunts of men, 

Reflecting on ages of gain. 
And heaved a weary sigh. 



172 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SEABREEZE BEACH IN THE MOON- 
LIGHT 

(A Dip into Verse Libre — Almost Drowned) 

THE NIGHT 

The night is somber, sciagraphic, tenebrious, — 
But not silent. 

The sullen roar of the breakers 
Rolling ceaselessly, 
Hissingly, slitheringly, 
Beating forward, sweeping backward, 
Like a threatening, awful, yet fascinating 
Danger in a drowsing dream, 

Caught now like a phantom sunbeam on a fairie mirror, 
Lost anon, — a mystic vision of restrained power, — 
A challenge of danger hidden in the coral recesses, — 
Curling enticingly, playfully as a kitten, 
Fav/ning at my feet, witching, seductive, undulating, 
vampirish, — 
Ah, that is night upon the beach at Seabreeze! 

THE URGE 

But my heart is filled with fear — 

A horrid dread melts my vitals ; 

For the mighty wastes of the distance 

Call to me. 

Call out of eons of Time, 

Call out of the pleocine past, 

Call, call, enchantingly, hypnotisingly : 

"Come into my depths. 

Come deep, deep into my subterranean passages. 

Where all is calm, and silent, and wonderfully green, — 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 173 

Eternally, softly, cool and green, — 
And I will give you rest, oblivion. Nirvana." 
Ah, I fear! 

My heart is filled with the dread of the great unknown; 
I am as on the top of a high building 
With vast space beneath, 

And would fain throw myself over the ramparts. 
I am as one on the uttermost point of the Alps 
With the attraction of nothingness below, 
And feel the pull of that awful vastness. 
Vacuophobia clutches my heart; 
And my soul — ah, my soul 
Recognizes the call — the call of time. 
The call of the distance, — 

The call of mysterious wraiths of disembodied sea- 
nymphs. 
For in that deep. 

That restless bosom of millions of ages past, 
Rest the forefathers of man. 

THE FEAR 

The Terror is upon me! 

There is no knowing what horrible forms 

Lurk beneath yon heaving waters; 

Ghost sprays of an eon still pulse and throb 

Before my salt-dewed eyes. 

Shapes, forms, — ^hideous, terrible, frightful, — 

Such as the soul- window of the human 

Never has rested upon, — 

Shapes uncouth, unreal, gigantic, 

Major-masses with transcendent bulk, 

Immense, monstrous, repellant 

Grotesques of aborted nature, 

Salurian gargoyles, 

Dinosaurii, ichthyopterygii — 

All the bizarre nightmarish shapes 

That the frightful tales of my far-gone youth 

Could conjure up 



174 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

(Tales which are the foundation of cowardice in the 

child) 
These, all these, may be furtively lurking 
Ambushed ready to spring, out there. 
I can see them — beyond yon white-crested wave, 
Ready to thrust out their intumescent tentacles, 
Their slimy, sinuous formations, 
And draw me down, deep down, 
Into the vastness of the 
Bottomless Ooze! 

THE MONSTER 

And so I fear! 

Here in the night 

My knees shake, 

OVIy heart slows its beat, 

My bowels have turned to water. 

For the eyes of Reptilian Aw fulness 

With the threat of dire catastrophe 

Are upon me ! 

They spring out of the distant misty gloom. 

I swoon in my soul; 

I stand as one in a camerated maze ; 

A raucous roar of approaching doom 

Shrieks out on the sullen air, 

A throb of mighty footsteps rends the portentous silence. 

The gory eyes grow larger 1 

Qiaos is upon me ! 

Vivid reflections of the ferocious glare, 

Beaten angling, criss-crossed from the coquina. 

Driven slanted and blinding from the white sands. 

Daze my affrighted eyes ! 

The hulking monster draws nearer! 

All the tempestuous avalanches. 

The protean upheavals of wild nature, 

Combine in one titanic moment! 

I gasp! 

I choke! 

A roaring monster is upon me! 



IN LIGHTER VEIN 175 



-But I stand unharmed ! 



I gasp. I shudder 

I moan in despair 

I fain would fall on the sands 

And plead for life — 

But all is vain 

A whirlwind of sound, 

A turbulant turmoil of terribleness. 

Rushes past. 

A stench of death poisons me 

I choke as a dying man — 

For the black Gargantua, 

The Brobdingnagian leviathan 

Has passed ! 

Leaving only its stench of decay, 

Of myriad forms destroyed, 

To pollute the ruffled air of night. 

THE MOONLIGHT 

I look up to the sky, 

Diana gazes down in silvery smiles; 

White rays of peace bathe my ashen face; 

The ever-changing surf. 

Having given up its prehistoric monster, 

Has calmly subsided into a senile hiss, — 

Kissing the spot it once has lashed. 

Flecks of Stardust dance upon the shimmering ripples,^ 

A handful of silver shillings 

Flung broadcast into the limpid waters 

Of the Naples'-blue bay, 

Fish-scales filtering thru open fingers 

Into a pail of molten pearl. 

With the flashing isparide of fireflies 

To catch up and petrify the glancing light. 

Again the sinuous, faithless, slithering foam 

Licks at my feet. 

It promises the impossible. 

Suggests the unknown. 



176 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

But now I am not afraid! 

Oblivion hath no witchery for me! 

Enchantment has been abated, 

For I am I ! 

And I LIVE ! 

Forever I live! 

And the now calls to me ! — 



LYRICS OF LOVE 



LYRICS OF LOVE 



LINES TO LOVE 

The world is large, and hidden doth contain 
Enough of gold, and shining wealth of earth, 
Of rubies rare and stones of untold worth. 
Of shimmering pearls on the sunbeat Main, 
To make high kingly courtiers disdain 
The lower elements of plebian birth; 
And counteth not the root of senseless mirth 
That clowns and mocking, struggling actors fain 
Would show. But one small gem of god-like 

power 
And subtle worth above yon maudlin dross, 
A priceless legacy or queenly dower, 
A princely coronet, a perfumed flower 
That blossoms fresh from lowborn earthly moss 
And scents the path of faith for ceaseless hour, 
Is Love — the single gem of priceless worth 
That makes the Man, and rules the struggling 

Earth. 



179 



1 80 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



TO MY WONDER-GIRL 

Oh wonder-girl — sweet wonder-girl, 

Oh girl-wife of my dreams — 

I held thee once within these arms 

And since then all life seems 

A golden mist of super-life, 

And mellowed fancy teems 

With superthoughts and superhopes 

And superwork and plans; 

For know, oh spirit-wonder girl, 

Tho hidden, lost and gone 

Beyond the dim and distant clouds, — 

Thy presence still lives on. 

Thy lips still cling to my eager lips, 

My eyes still catch the glance 

Of the thrill and joy in thy melting eye; 

My arms hold thee alone. 

And I must live with but these dreams — 

My visioned hopes in vain? 

Can nought bring back to me the sprite — 

My wonder-girl — again? 

Ah, must these aching arms be void 

Of the pressure, fragrant, soft. 

Of the form divine, which once was mine 

And which has weirdly drawn aloft? 

Ah, must I wander on in vain 

Adown the corridors of time. 

And with aching heart and eyes that smart 

With unshed tears but seek and start, — 

Ah, seek, and watch, and search, and pray, 

Until the sad and endless day 

Gives out unto the eternal night 

Sans wonder-girl, sans hope, sans light? 



LYRICS OF LOVE i8i 

Oh, wonder-girl, oh, wonder-girl! 

I dread the endless pain and sorrow. 

I dread, sans thee, my dim to-morrow; 

Canst not return, oh girl of yore 

To make me love thee deep once more? 



1 82 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



GONE SO SOON 

Gone so soon, my dear ? 
And my heart is sad and drear; 
The very heavens weep and sob 
For thou art no more near. 

Gone so soon, my dear? 
The very sky has lost its charm, 
I care not what may come to me 
Of evil or of gross alarm, 
For no more do I softly feel 
Around my neck thy tender arm. 

Gone so soon, my dear? 
And empty seems the lagging world; 
I would again that thou wert near, 
For in my heart thy spirit is curled; 
And for the span of one sweet moon 
Thou gav'st me thee, — and gone so soon ? 

Oh love, dear love, canst thou forget 
That roses with the dew are wet? 
That silver moonbeams melt in the mist? 
That thy soft lips by mine were kiss't? 

And in my arms, of Love we sipped 
With throbbing breast and honey lipped? 
Ah. 'Tis like a dream — that thou are gone,- 
An evil dream, — ^and gone so soon? 



LYRICS OF LOVE 183 



A FLEA 

Sweet ; 

If thou dost still deny me this, 

If thou refusest me one kiss, 

(I know that one thou would'st not miss) 

I will repine. 

If thou but cast on me one glance 
In angry light; or if perchance 
Thy mood forbid my love's advance, 
I must repine. 

If cold thou lookest on my suit; 
If dormant lies thy heartstring's lute; 
Nor echoing soft my love-toned flute, 
I will repine. 

If brighter days of sun's gold light 
Make not my melancholy bright; 
Nor happier token from thy sight, 
I will repine. 

But if one ray of gold-tipped noon 
To me from out thy Twin Stars shone, 
'Twould make my life a glorious June — • 
The sun would shine. 



1 84 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



TO THE GIRL WITH THE OLIVE-TINTED EYES 

O, you ravishing little sweetheart, 
With eyes of olive blue, 
You tantalizing little witch, 
What shall I do with you? 
Eyes not brown, and yet not gold, 
With blue-sky tints and pale mauve glints, 
Deep down and deeper in the depths. 
Like a summer's pool with willow .shade 
Soft-kissed by the scented breath 
Of the wafted breeze made by the wings 
Of a million butterflies fluttering high, 
Now low on the earth, now high in the sky. 
That makes me dream of love and things 
Not in the lexicon the old grouch made. 
Ah, girl of my heart and girl of my arms, 
Why do you intrigue me by your lithe charms, 
Don't you know well, my darling elf. 
That there are no others — just you and 
myself ? 



LYRICS OF LOVE 185 



ALACK A DAY! 

Alack a day ! Although the skies were bright 
And Phyllis' smile illumed the air around 
With joyous flush, her eyes were filled with light 
Much like Cerulean heavens brought to ground; 
Yet must I hush my jocund jollity, 
For Phyllis says her heart is far away. 
Alack a day! Alack a day! 

Alack a day I I vainly try to still 
The throbbing of my heart, which obstinate 
At vain control o'erleaps my struggling will 
And jumps, like prisoned sprites, into my throat, 
As quite forlorn I hear her sportive threat. 
In truth, think you that man could e'er forget ? 
Alack a day! Alack a day! 

Alack a day I I almost thought that time 

Had paused and sat upon the brink of heaven. 

Awaiting but to hear the note sublime 

Course from the lips of Phyllis, and, once given, 

Plunge on down into everlasting bliss. 

But 't could not happen — I snatched the dimpled 

kiss. 
Alack a day! That blessed day! 



1 86 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



-GEORGIA 

Yes, Georgia was a pretty girl, 

Was Georgia, was Georgia, 
With flossy hair and yellow curl. 

Was Georgia, was Georgia. 
But, ah, the upstart was a flirt, 
And treated lads as mean as dirt; 
She never thought just how it hurt, 

Not Georgia, sweet Georgia. 

She had a father mean as sin, 

Did Georgia, our Georgia. 
Where others left off, he would begin, 

Poor Georgia, sweet Georgia. 
Too bad to keep him out of jail. 
Too crooked even to give him bail, 
They sent him up for robbing mail. 

Poor Georgia, sweet Georgia! 

And the mother that the sweet girl had — 

Gee ! Georgia ; Wow ! Georgia — 
Was almost crooked as her dad. 

Poor Georgia, sad Georgia. 
She looked as vile as a sea-side swamp. 
And dressed as slack as a female tramp, 
Her hair was towsled, but hush, you scamp, 
She was the mother of Georgia. 

But spite of all the kid made good, 

Did Georgia, our Georgia. 
Her milk-white skin held some pure blood, 

Did Georgia, sweet Georgia. 
She looked demure with her big blue eyes, 



LYRICS OF LOVE 187 

And caught your heart with her soft quaint sighs, 
But her head was good and ways were wise — 
Was Georgia, fair Georgia. 

And how am I to end this tale? 

Ask Georgia, fair Georgia. 
She's just outside with my dinner-pail, 

Dear Georgia, sweet Georgia. 
What care I what her dad may do. 
Or whether her mother does take a chew, 
I married the girl, not the whole cabeau, — 

Just Georgia, my Georgia. 



1 88 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



BUT ONE 

I ask no great or ponderous might, 
No gold or precious stone, 
I would not fain have wealth or gain, 
My plea, but one alone, — 
But one, Arianna, but one. 

I am not worth to think of thee, 
Not great, nor noble form; 
Poor lowly me, of clay degree, 
Ask but a mite perform. 
Grant one, Arianna, but one. 

More favored ones may press thy hand. 
And thoughtless at the deed 
Press others fair with friendly air ; 
Yet for thy clasp I plead. 
Grant one, Arianna, but one. 

Perchance some nobler knight may come 
And love thee ardent, long; 
Perchance thy heart may glow impart, — 
Yet echoes mine thy song. 
But thine, Arianna, but thine. 



LYRICS OF LOVE 189 



TO THEE 

Yon bud unfolds its petals soft 
And shyly turns face to the sun; 
It spreads its silken fibre wide, 
Its fragrant life but now begun. 
It knows not why, nor tries to find 
The secret source of hidden love. 
It only knows the sun doth shine, 
And thrills to the gentle warmth above. 

Yon bird spreads forth its golden sail. 
And wings its way far in yon blue, 
Nor does it falter in its flight; 
Its heart is pure, its eye is true. 
It asks not why the throbbing soul 
Springs forth in thrills of joyous sound, 
It only knows the world is good, 
And joy and life and love abound. 

And so my heart can never tell 
The why and wherefore of its love ; 
It but can feel thy presence near ; 
It but can ask and let thee prove. 
It knows not why the mantling blush 
Steals up the face so all can see; 
It only knows, O soul of mine. 
It knows one thing, its love for thee. 



190 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN 

I sat down to write and knew not why, 

Involuntarily I started my pen; 
Another force seemed to control my thoughts, 

Another power to guide me then. 
I had no thought of the words thus placed, 
I took no note of the lines I traced, 
I seemed to dream, and as one dazed 
I wrote the words, 

"It might have been." 

Weary of life and tired of wrong, 

Oppressed by the longing and pain, 
I looked back on the paths I just had trod 

And wished I could tread them again. 
I thought of a face, of a voice, of a look, 
Of the days I spent with her near the brook. 
When I fancied I could read her soul like a book; 
Then mournfully murmured, 
"It might have been." 

I wearily thought of the path of life. 

How lonely and sad 'tis for men. 
When hopes have vanished and life is a waste, 

Because of the words, "It might have been." 
Oh, sad are the words : "Recall them I pray, 
Oh, give me again another day 
And a different path will I make for me, — " 
But time mocked with the words, 
"It might have been." 



LYRICS OF LOVE 191 



I woke with a start and looked around 

At the books and my study den ; 
My head sank low, my eyes grew dim, 

And my hand let fall the coursing pen, 
For my thoughts had stirred dark memories 

past, 
When my life was gay and hope was fast 
Realizing my ambition. But now at last 
My only words were, 

"It might have been." 



192 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



HEART-ACHE 

Lost is the visioned hope, 

The one sun-golden dream 
That made my life ennobled, 

And caused the night-gloom seem 
As though the courts of heaven 

Had widened full their portals. 
Had thrust the golden glory down 

Upon the struggling mortals 
With bursting rays of holy, 

Most holy radiant light, 
And rosed the dismal pathway, 

Until my life grew bright. 

^Tis like the setting sunlight 

That dies in the western breeze, 
Full — dank with the gloom of midnight, 

With the winds that chill and freeze: 
More cold than the icy boreas 

That roar from the caves of death; 
More black than the shades of Tartarus 

Arising on Stygian breath; 
Because the blessed brightness 
Is doubly lost in the gloom; 
So the hope of the uproused soul 

Is doubly crushed by its doom. 

But through the gathering twilight. 
And through the deep of night, 

Behold ! the cherub's candles 
Pour out their twinkling light. 

And speak of the faithful guardians 
Who forever vigils keep, 



LYRICS OF LOVE 193 

Despite Life's grim disasters, 

Despite Death and Lethe's sleep. 
So will my dreams of sadness 

Give way to the Light Above; 
So will despair and madness 

Be banished by thy love. 



194 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



WHEN I MEET HER AGAIN 

Ah! When I meet her again, I know 
Full well my heart will speak, and though 
My eyes may have the scales of night 
Encrusted deep to seer the sight, 
And densest shadows from Stygian gloom 
Like the pall of Death from Dante's doom 
May hover about to rape the sense, 
And weirdly dull the mind intense; 
Or even deeper may morphose the mind 
Till the outer heart and Soul be blind, — 
Yet shall the Inner Soul speak out 
And call across the gruesome void. 
As though alone of all it joyed 
In leaping the chasm of Fate to shout 
Its thrill, and feel the joy, the pain, 
Of love ; — ^when I meet her again. 

Yes, when I meet her again, and she 
May glance with wonder, beholding me. 
And a troubled look may cloud her eye 
As the fleeting mist which dims the sky,^ 
And though at first a curl of scorn 
May pass her lips, as in the morn 
The bittern denies its pleading mate. 
Or the pheasant plumed in proud estate 
Brooks never a glance at the lowly flock. 
But stands to dazzle and prunes to mock ; 
Yet sudden shall her soul awake, 
As swift the love leaps from my heart 
To encompass her aura, and fleet impart 
The quickening throb that ever shall make 
The wondrous One which once were twain, 
Indivisible; — when I meet her again. 



LYRICS OF LOVE 195 



" THOUGHTS, IDLE THOUGHTS" 

Thoughts, thoughts — idle thoughts, 

O, that I could forget! 

My heart yet throbs for long gone days, 

My mind still sighs regret. 

O, that the past had never been, 

Or that I could undo 

The many wrongs, the pangs and pain, 

That love has done for you. 



Thoughts, thoughts, idle thoughts ! 

They come of yesterday. 

When you and I were happy, love, — 

But now 'tis passed away. 

Then hearts were filled with hallowed fire, 

And soft your answer sobbed; 

Upon my breast your heart was pressed, — 

'Tis gone, — ^and both are robbed. 



Thoughts, thoughts, idle thoughts! 

Alas, we have them all. 

The deeds are done, the past is gone, 

The pains alone recall. 

God pity the man, old, sere, alone. 

Whose only memory, pain; 

Whose idle thought, with sadness wrought. 

Returns again and again. 



196 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

God pity the maid whose day is gone 
Without the thrill of love; 
Whose sob and cry, with weeping eye, 
The dreams of youth are wove. 
Yet was that joy of other days 
With Heaven's blessings bought; 
And dreary days, once filled with songs, 
By idle, vagrant thought. 



LYRICS OF LOVE 197 



THE KNIGHT'S REPLY 

A blue-eyed maiden, bright, with laughing lips, 
With fair round form, and coral finger tips, 
With golden clustered hair on which a rosebud laid. 
While 'gainst her brow the glinting sunbeams played. 
Stood at the fount and watched the silver spray 
As up it dashed and then soft purred away. 



Low at her feet there knelt an armored knight 
With stately grace; his helmet burnished bright, 
A sheathed sword hung dangling at his side. 
But now returned from danger, far and wide. 
Besought her grace, and whispering words of love 
Made plea that she his passion now would prove. 



With simple gesture, arch and piquant glance, 
And watching still the Naiades in their dance, 
She said, "Stay. Soon my curls turn old and gray, 
Like spring my beauty soon will fade away. 
And then, oh knight, thy heart will colder turn, 
And no more incense on love's altar burn." 



"Fair one," he cried in fervid passioned voice, 
"Wert thou but haggard now I would rejoice! 
'Tis not thy fairness that I fain would win, 
'Tis thine ownself — thy purity within." 
But still she coyly held her hand aloof. 
And sought to put his loyalty to proof. 



198 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

"Kind sir, beyond that shading cypress tree 
There is a maid most wondrous fair to see, 
The Vizier's daughter, proud and rich and fair, 
With night black eyes and curling ebon hair; 
Behold her once, and for her love you'd sigh, — 
For she is far more wondrous fair than I." 

"More fair than you ? Nay, that can ne'er be true, 
There's none on earth to me more fair than you ; 
For all is fair to him who truly loves, 
And by his actions every heart-throb proves.'* 
Nor voice nor look could lure him from her side — 
And thus Sir Geoffrey won his blushing bride. 



LYRICS OF LOVE 199 



WIPE AWAY YOUR TEARS, DEAR 

Wipe away your tears, dear, 
And smile again once more ; 
Be the same sweet girl, dear. 
That you were before. 
Brush away the frowns, dear. 
Let love shine from the eye; 
Become again my sweetheart, — 
For love can never die. 

Wipe away your tears, dear. 
The clouds soon pass away; 
The sun will warm a heart once 

chilled. 
The month soon will be May; 
And ere the years may pass, dear, 
Some errant pangs may fly. 
Yet, love, sweet love, will win, 

dear, 
For love can never die. 



200 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



LONGING 

Oh, I long to be far, far away, 
Far o'er yon dreamy, throbbing sea; 
But I would not stay far, far away, 
Oh, I would not stay far, far away. 
Far, far from home, and thee. 

For the sights I may see, far, far, away. 
And the strange, strange ports beyond the sea, 
Would fill my heart nor half so full, 
Oh, would fill my heart nor half so full. 
As a sight of home, and baby, and thee. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 

MY SILENT FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY 

A friend I have — a. friend did I say? 
Ah, yes indeed, a many have I — 
Friends tried and true for many a day. 
In sorrow, in gladness, they ever are nigh. 
I love my den when all others are gone. 
When the candle is flickering and I am alone, 
A fire in the grate, and the deep undertone 
Of peace fills my soul as the breeze passes by. 

I love my bound friends, those silent jewels 
That rest on the shelf and await my pleasure, 
My friends who argue from many old schools, 
And add to my wealth with their golden treasure. 
They know when to commune with silent tongue — 
A song from the heart yet not loudly sung, 
A gem of deep thought, even doubters among. 
Yet all are my friends, of truly full measure. 

Some friends of mine are witty friends. 
With quip and quirk and pleasurable joke; 
They charge the blues "avaunt" from drear life, 
And deprecate the powers of black Loke. 
All care and pain they soon brush away, 
While these, my friends, have come to stay ; 
They come to smile, they come to play, — 
My friends in cloth and morocco cloak. 

Josh Billings throws his cayenne hash, 
And Maupassant breathes a gentle shock. 
Bob Burdette twirls his first moustache. 
While Kendrick Bangs strolls in from a walk. 
There is jolly Mark Twain, and old Bill Nye — 

'Mark's hair is too much, and Bill's is too shy — 

203 



204 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And the jokes they crack — I'd Hke to die! — 
As they roost on my shelf and talk. 

Then there is psycho James in serious vein, 
And Sienkiewicz of the Polish school, 
While Browning- returns again and again 
With thoughts as healing as Bethesda's pool; 
Stevenson with tales of the Spanish Main, 
And Gulliver's satire of deep disdain, 
While Sill still breathes his sad refrain, 
*'Oh, God be merciful to me — a fool !" 

Ah, yes, Mort d'Arthur of ancient day. 

And a quaint old fellow by name of Chaucer; 

Spencer and his sweet round-de-lay. 

And Holmes with his poetical teacup and saucer. 

Curwood brings the heroic North 

With clean and wholesome tales of worth. 

While Butler tickles the ribs of mirth, 

And of Roosevelt's mind I stand in awe, sir. 

Of course "Ye Olde Friends" of Victorian school 
Look in, and then smile in a fond friendly way, 
And bring to my hearth full mnay a rule 
Of good living and loving, and e'en how to pray; 
But my real ancient friends, Josephus and others, 
Homer and \"irgil, and old fashioned brothers, 
Transcendentalist Emerson whose philosophy 

bothers ; 
Stay by me and hearten me for every new day. 

Yes, there in my den away from the throng 
I chat with my friends, and know they are true. 
I can talk with them, visit them, all the day long, 
Nor will they feel slighted, if other things I do. 
So here's to my friends, the best man can have, 
A wise man's companion, ambitious man's slave, 
And every man's friend, to use or to leave, — 
Old as the mountains and yet ever new. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 205 



THE CHIMES 

Written at Indianapolis, while the cathedral chimes were play- 
ing "The Holy City." The author had been a guest of the 
Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, and the chimes pealed 
forth the sad news of the poet's death. 

Dong! 

Dong! 

Dong! 

Dong! 
Slowly and massive the chimes peal forth 
Tolling the death of a man of worth. 
Dong ! 

Dong! 

Dong! 

Dong! 

With solemn sad cadence they mumble the sound, 

Thrilling the mourners gathering round, 

Now dimly, now loudly the melancholy rings, 

Softly and sweetly the chorister sings. 

Grandly and solemn the organ tone brings 

A hallowed hush down the dim gloomed aisle. 

And again comes the saddening heart-sobs, while 

The bells in the tower, in that last sad hour. 

Boom out their mournful sepulchral song, — 

Dong! 

Dong! 

Dong ! 

Dong ! 

Ah, Father in Heaven, we weak mortals pray 
That Thou wilt protect us, lest our feet stray. 
And the thrill of those chimes, wherever we be. 



2o6 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

When borne on the breezes, recalls us to Thee. 

Tho far may our footsteps, both faltering and sad 

Wandering in paths, which Thou hast forbade, 

Grimy and lawless, and almost forgot, 

Broken in spirit and soul but a blot. 

Despised, forsaken, o'ercome by despair, 

Completely estranged from divinity's air; 

Yet in our deep moraine let the chimes ring out. 

And, like tales long forgotten, is sin put to rout, 

The throbbing, low cadence re-enters our heart. 

We thrill and we tremble and haltingly start 

Again back to Thee m our mental desire; 

While the rime of the chime creeps higher and higher. 

From the first sobbing note of pathos and sorrow 

To a paen of joy for the hopes of tomorrow. 

So, Thou, Oh Great Father, that sweet sound prolong. 
Let churches and cathedrals bring forth the deep song. 
Dongl 

Dong! 

Dong ! 

Dong ! 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 207 



STEDMAN 

The onward-rushing seasons shout aloud in joy; 

And Earth chants anthems sweet, and rolls along 

Its ceaseless orbit; and the grand triumphal song 

Of countless throngs of harp-angels on high, 

Each with a burning star above her limpid eye, 

Rises up and ever up unto the gates of morn, 

And far, far beyond, where souls like thee are born, 

And there around the dazzling throne they lay. 

The mighty minds assembled — poets, picture-souls — 

Who know full well the mystic source and goals 

Of all the airy shafts, triumphant hymns, 

And e'en the bleeding words that drop like gems 

Into an aching heart, — know and approve 

Thy simple songs, which I have read, and love. 



2o8 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

TO EDGAR ALLAN POE 
Written at Fordham, Poe's home. June 23, 191 1. 

Alas, thou led'st a life forlorn, 
Thy footsteps lagging missed the way, 
And wandered far from dewy mom, 
The radiant warmth of God's pure day. 
But soon midst reeking slimy things 
Didst wend a pen-path rankly vile; 
Full oft it a haunting specter brings, 
And oft again with crimes beguile. 

Man of doom and man of sin! 
Child of fate and born of sorrow ! 
Drugged in gloom, deranged within! 
Wan, hopeless past and lost tomorrow ! 
Wrecked upon the shoals of self, 
Like staggering ships spent in the storm; 
Knowing nought of sordid pelf, 
And food too soon of the Conquering 
Worm! 

Poet of strange, fantastic themes, 
Reconteur of direful stories, 
Lunging forth thy dreadful dreams 
Filled with ghouls and psychic worries, — 
Knowest thou not that tho thy brain 
Be warped and seared by torrid brooding, 
Yet the germ of Hope remain ?^ — 
The flower of Life is in the budding. 

Alas, too soon thy song was sung! 
And tuned too oft in minor key; 
Methinks thy heart with gall was wrung, 
Like Tantalus, it ne'er was free. 
We stand in awe at works so great. 
We grieve in dread at Ulalume, 
We laud thee, Seer of High Estate, 
Oh, child of sorrow, man of doom! 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 209 



TO-DAY IS THE TO-MORROW OF 
YESTERDAY 

PROLOGUE 

To-day is the to-morrow of yesterday. 

Ponder, mortal, the meaning hidden deep. 

Obscure, but potent in the flaming words which play 

So smoothly on the page. Ponder, lest ye weep. 

Thy yesterdays were promises of all rainbow to-morrows ; 

The plough will never turn again the half-unleveled 

furrows. 
Each morning saw some hope within the heart strings 

creep ; 
Each sunrise had its birth in some soul's deep desire; 
Each day some need embraced that could a Joan inspire ; 
And genius fain would climb Art's rugged mountains 

steep. 
But hold, O Man! The spirit lacks for that great 

Cosmic Urge 
That wills to do the visioned work which comes to hand ; 
To-day, alas, is much too short; desires laxly merge 
Into mere wistful thought — a writing on the shifting 

sand. 
"To-day I rest, but ah, in that fond gold to-morrow 
Then will I do the great inspired World-hoped deed ; 
Then will I paint the Magdalenes of Sorrow, 
Or salve the mendicant in his awful need." 
Alas, thus pass unchampioned days, for swift is Time 

upon its way, — 
For to-day, O mortal, is that promised morrow of that 

yesterday. 

And to-day is the yesterday of to-morrow; 

To-day lay up thy treasures, lest trouble ye may borrow ; 

To-day be kind, be gentle, liberal, loving; 



2IO STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Each deed and act a benediction amply proving. 
For to-day's simple deed may subtly act unknown, 
Unheralded, obscure, its worth nor widely blown. 

Yet to-morrow that simple, unthought, patient deed 
May bring you manifold help in direst need. 
The present lack trace back to yon drab yesterday; 
Yet for our future good we daily pray. 
But think, O man, each passing westering sun 
Proclaims a yesterday hath just been swiftly run, 
And to-day, tho spent, brings but another to-morrow 
To bless with joy, or curse with bitter sorrow. 
So act each day as tho it held a blessing in its heart; 
Each flower hath honey, and fruit its nectar will impart. 
In future then ye well may happily say, 
**I laid up my treasures in the yesterdays of to-day." 

THE STORY 

The day was bright as the happy heart 
Of a child who romps on the verdant lawn; 
Full-orbed the sun sent slanting rays 
To waken the soul of radiant dawn; 
Kissed by the breath of a vagrant breeze 
There fluttered the leaves on the emerald 

trees. 
While above and around in ecstasy 
Rang the carol of birds in full-throated 

ease; 
In truth the miracle of a perfect May 
Had banished the clouds of my yesterday. 

The clouds which shadowed o'er my heart 
And gloomed my mind in frenzy blank — 
For pain and age had dulled my art — 
Had chilled my blood and caused the dank 
Foul dreads of a much- wronged rage 
Enshroud my soul in doubtings vague; 
And through it all my rioting blood 
Dipped deep in slough, nought to assuage; 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 211 

When sudden a sigh from dim away- 
Disturbed my repining for yesterday. 

I turned about. My heart stood still. 
For an unseen presence hovered near. 
Upon the bench which erst was clear 
Now oozed a horrid form of ill, 
A form both vague, of uncouth shape. 
Methought it had a mouth agape, 
And rumbhng, subterraneous sounds, 
And sulphurous odors seemed to escape. 
My trembling limbs, filled with dismay, 
Forsook their strength of yesterday. 

But soon the shape before my path 
Assumed a quaint, decrepit form, 
A castaway on the sands of time; 
A derelict from Life's cruel storm. 
He slouched with shoulders drooping low, 
While gaunt his mien — a form of woe; 
Grey hair unkempt and straggling beard. 
And from torn buskin his bones did show. 
I paused and gazed at the sad estray 
In the sunlit present from far yesterday. 

No doubt he had lived a somber plot, 

For each tongue if 'twould, a tale could tell; 

Within each past, if known or not, 

A poem, or drama, or tragedies, dwell. 

With mute apology I sat me down 

Beside the ragged, outcast lown. 

Some mysterious magic impelled me on, — 

But was greeted with scowls and a gathering 

frown. 
For I fain must probe this castaway 
From out of the chaos of yesterday! 

Nor had I long to await his word, 
His draggled spirit had dwelt alone 



212 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

So long that his soul cried out for God, 
And furtive his dread lest I be gone. 
With palsied hand he brushed his eye, 
And trembled forth a hectic sigh, 
Then with harsh voice and rancid breath 
He muttered soft a wish to die ; 
And thus he spake with quaint delay. 
In a foreign tongue, of his yesterday. 

An odd philosopher, my friend. 
Who ere a moment to me unknown, 
Now betrayed with voice a gentle sound, 
And actions grave, although a moan 
Of quick despair he breathed again 
With bated breath, like children when, 
O'erfilled with fear or trembling pain, 
They heave deep sobs and sighs in vain ; 
And soon I knew his misery 
Bespoke his loss of yesterday. 

"You see me here !" He slow began, 

"A wreck of self ; a fallen man ; 

But once, a thousand years agone, 

I was not here, outcast, alone. 

Then rang the joy-bells in my heart, 

Then had the Sun of Life a start. 

All peace and happiness I had. 

And smiles and faith could love impart; 

But friend, a word I have to say, — 

To-day is the to-morrow of yesterday." 

"Think, O Mortal, before you act, 
And lest your hasty voice provoke 
A little sting, or lack of tact 
A black despairing step invoke. 
Bethink what Fate has left to do. 
Reflect — the Old is ever New; 
A promise made for future years 
May, unfulfilled, bring bitter tears. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 213 

So let this hour complete your sway, 
For to-day is the morrow of yesterday. 

"I know, O Man, 'tis passing strange 

That I should pause here and complain; 

We have our paths in life to arrange 

And once each age I return again. 

In Rome I had my own fireside. 

And owned a Keep, and blushing bride — 

Yes, once I had all that you have. 

My peace and love at eventide. 

But alas, O Mortal, I cast it away, — 

And to-day is my morrow of that yesterday." 

His voice took on an awful sound. 

As though 'twere the thunder of roaring sea, 

Or the ghostly caverns of underground 

Had thrown their gruesome wail to me. 

And mysterious terror chilled my blood; 

I whispered a prayer 'gainst evil, for good, 

For ghastly trembling seized on my limbs, 

As he lifted his cowl and showed a shroud. 

"Listen," he groaned sepulchrally, 

"To-day is the morrow of yesterday!" 

"Each age I must this tale unfold. 

To warn all man 'gainst deadly sin, 

To guard some maid 'gainst crime untold, 

To thwart the Monster green within. 

Each age! Long years, one thousand gone, 

From darkest day 'till brighter dawn. 

From ancient time when Otto thrived 

Till present Renaissance is done. 

The Curse prevents me from decay, 

I warn 'gainst the deeds of yesterday. 

"Deep in your heart you hold a sorrow.'* 

I started up in abject fear, 

For had I not just cursed the morrow, 



214 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And sworn anathema most drear? 
**Nay, frenzy not the leaping blood, 
For from this hour your faith is good; 
And list this tale, reflect thereon, 
And make its meaning be your food, 
For ne'er man born to meet the fray 
Who has not lost some yesterday. 

"One thousand years have lagged and dragged, 
Since first I saw the siren face 
Of the madonna maid of Arahad ; 
And quick my sight to love gave place ; 
Celestial stars seemed beckoning; 
On branch and trees birds warbling; 
Cerulean skies looked brightly down. 
And through my life coursed throbs of 

spring. 
Each day more perfect than the soul of May, 
And I gave no thought to my yesterday. 

"Her past I never sought to know, 
Nor questioned such beauty its noble birth ; 
Her love alone I bought, and so 
With love alone I weighed its worth. 
'Twas pure. I knew such luscient skin 
With liquid pearl dissolved within; 
With eyes so deep, that ethereal skies 
A puddle was, could hold no sin. 
And for my faith and constancy 
She promised to reveal her yesterday. 

"Her yesterday! Alas, her morrow 
Never came. But yet each hour 
Brought joy complete; and never sorrow 
Struck its talons with churlish power. 
Each day was one bewildering joy 
So glorious full, without alloy, 
That forgotten was all thought of past, 
Like winter's chill in zepherous blast. 



I 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 215 

And year by year sped blithely away, 
Till buried was her yesterday. 

"One pensive moment the impulse came 
To speak and have her tell it all; 
But the thrill mysterious of infant name 
Banished all doubt; and the sacred thrall 
Of birth-hour hushed all vagrant thought; 
For life itself its truth had taught, 
And midst the fruit of profoundest bliss 
The sinuous qualm of suspense was forgot. 
We probed our love, and recklessly 
Lay blind to the wraith of all yesterday. 

"So day by day in heart of pleasure 
We probed the power of passion's dream, 
We sipped the crystal cup full measure, 
And ever sought the latent gleam 
Of deeper troth in new desire. 
A tense and overwhelming fire 
Fanned our love into new flame, 
'Til roseate edges did acquire 
A wondrous strength, and seemed to be 
Beyond all qualms of yesterday. 

"Whene'er the pin-prick of the thought 
That mayhap in her unknown past 
Some ugly terror might have bought 
A chance enlodgement, holding fast 
Its cancerous coil within her soul, 
And at some moment take its toll 
When nature lay dormant, virtue asleep. 
Then cruelly rush unto its goal, — 
Yet thrust I the doubt in haste away, 
*The morrow will plead her yesterday.' 

"To-morrow! And every passing glass 
Which upended the sand within its waist 



21 6 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Would still the fruitless hours o'erpass, 
And give its love a deeper taste. 
*To-morrow! Love, will I explain, 
And ope a secret full of pain 
Which like a poisonous reptile feeds 
Upon my heart,' — Then Lethe again. 
Each moment, hour, hastening day. 
Proclaimed the to-morrows of yesterday. 

"Procrastinate, and Time is lost, 

And never may we call it back, 

And all we desire, have or lack 

Into the lap of Eternity is tossed. 

A day, a week, a passing year, 

Without a doubt, a pain, a tear, 

And more and more the joyous feast 

Like crv'stal moons, winnowed of fear; 

Forgotten her promises from day to day, 

Each day was the morrow of some yesterday. 

"Full oft the clarion note of Time 
L^proused the billows of changing fear 
To burst the spell which held sublime. 
And smote and smote upon the ear, 
'Awake ! Oh, mortal somned in Lethe, 
And scale the rugged heights where breath 
Of higher sanity may tear 
The robes from Fate, the cowl from Death. 
Arrange the moment that she may 
Breathe the tale to you to-day !' 

"But love and passion brooked no rest. 
And love and lovers delight were king; 
She loved, I loved, and which the best 
Did love, could ne'er a judgment bring. 
So deaf again to Time's behest. 
And deaf to memory's stern contest. 
For who could at such moment fling 
A scorpion in the cup of zest; 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 217 

So passed the dawn, and passed for aye 
The time to tell her yesterday. 

"One morning as I stood and dreamed 
And looked adown the distant glade, 
I thought I saw a hand that seemed 
To hold aloft a gleaming blade; 
And as the flash of mystic toy 
Could barely pierce me to annoy, 
My heart spake out, 'It but displayed 
The rainbow of everlasting joy 
Caught by the sheen of fountain's play, — ■ 
The million suns within its spray/ 

"Again one night as through the dusk 

We wandered, drawn by throbbing bliss, 

The air incensed with myrrh and musk. 

And heart to heart, each vow a kiss. 

The slender moon meseemed it cast 

A haunting shadow as it passed. 

And far- faint breath half -mourned, I wiss, 

Because I faltered to the last. 

And failed to plead, *Voice it to-day, 

For to-day is the morrow of all yesterday/ " 

* * * 

Methought a gloom had settled o'er 
The trees, the park, the sky, the mall. 
And a strangling vapor seemed to soar 
Around the presence like a pall. 
With nervous stride I stepped aside 
And fain would stem the rising tide 
Of fantastic, irksome, dolorous tale 
Now forced upon me by this guide. 
Who hoarsely cried and bade me stay 
And list to his tale of yesterday. 

He paused, and o'er his gaze there spread 
A cloud of pain, of agony, 



2i8 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

As though a storm had hid the sky, 
But soon was spent and passed away. 
And by this time the heavens o'ercast 
The wind sprang up in icy blast : 
And raindrops came and pattering fast 
Swept down, but still his melancholy past 
He urged upon me insistently, — 
"To-day is the morrow of yesterday." 



"The heavens above ne'er held more bliss 
Than lay within my humble breast; 
Fair lady she of high degree, 
And I her favorite knight was blessed. 
And so we dwelt for many years 
With smiles above and seldom tears, 
With love much-told and faithfulness, 
Until our land called me to wars. 
Then blithely went I on my way 
With armor on, nor thought to stay. 

*'How proud she looked as marching by 
With bugle flouting on the breeze, 
And pennants flying to the sky, — 
One hundred thousand at her knees. 
All shouting cheers for victory, 
Swearing allegiance to our throne 
With vaunting faith, nor discontent; 
And I the 'fender of the crowTi. 
Soon rode we forth in bright array 
Nor looked we back on our yesterday. 

"Long days we fought and fought with might. 
Like legions from the higher world; 
We struck for home, to save our right, 
And in God's grace our flags unfurled. 
The martial strains of melody 
Soothed aching bones each dying day, 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 219 

And stirred the blood to battle fierce 
Upon the field in banked array. 
For ours of right was the victory; 
Our shout, 'Remember yesterday/ 

"Eftsoon returned I from the front 

With tidings of triumphant peace, 

To pour into her lap the jewels 

Which came, the proof that war should cease. 

And the very heavens, with blue divine, 

And deeper hue I knew would shine 

From her proud eyes like sapphire twins, 

And flash a script of love to mine. 

Full- joyed I hasted happily 

To bless her with our victory. 

"Nor did one breath of dismal thought 
O'ershadow the boast of eager joy, 
And apprehension ne'er uprose, 
For was our faith without alloy. 
The very wrens on fence and wall 
Re-echoed the life in the soldier's call ; 
The air was fair, the trees were green. 
But hold! Black treacherous foulness may 
Besmirch the snows of yesterday. 

"When bare ten leagues from our castle walls, 

A lurking courier secretly 

Bore in a message of intent vile. 

And disappeared mysteriously. 

'What ho !' I cried in anger wroth, 

'Behead that villain, or by my troth, 

I'll slay each bearer of that tale, 

And teach the scandal-mongers truth ! 

My house? The pride of Tuscany? 

And bring ye tidings such to me?' 

"But spleen once 'jected in the blood. 
Will boil and effervesce withal 



220 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Until the over-venomed mood 
O'erflows and tastes of bitterest gall. 
Ne'er slept I for black evil hours, 
Nor looked where strode I through green bowers. 
Ye gods ! My brain was seared with fire 
Which quenched could be by no earth-showers. 
For in that dread uncertainty, 
I bethought her hint of a yesterday. 

*'Her yesterday ! I stood ! Like a shock 

There came the flash of mystic sound 

From out the past, and seemed to mock 

My faith in man; and so there wound 

The serpent's coil athwart my mind. 

The slimy creeping coils of blind 

And dreadful jealousy, and doubt 

Of the unknown past she had left behind. 

And I cursed and raved in agony 

At the untold hell in her yesterday. 

"That night as I dragged me to my tent 
Both sick at heart and body spent, 
Bethought me then a strange intent 
To which I quick my spirit bent. 
Without a word to the sleeping band 
Who returned with me to my native land, 
Without a sound which might betray 
Me to my guard, or my will withstand, 
I stole past the sleepers silently 
To probe the curse of that yesterday. 



"High o'er the tents the moon shone down 
And sleepy birds crooned in yon tree, 
While starry points gleamed from a town 
Which hid itself 'neath the distant sky. 
I heard the night thrush cheep to its mate. 
Alas, — 'twas not a night for hate; 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 221 

The nightingale's full liquid note 
Could almost monstrous storms abate. 
And sweet the gentle hush held sway — 
Forgot for the dream was my yesterday. 

"But soon I beheld the marching form 

Of a distant guard on his grim night beat, 

And the spectral gleam of the ghostly turm 

Whose tents, moon-kissed, did the sky-line meet; 

And I groped along in the densest shade 

While a troubadour his 'plaining made 

In a minor key — far o'er the camp, 

And his song the thongs of night invade. 

His melancholy did pain betray ; 

'Twas a wail for the fallen of yesterday." 

SONG OF THE TROUBADOUR 

Alas! Alas! We have won the fray, 

And our dead were alive bu,t yesterday; 

Our dead are silent in the tomb 

And our living, awaked, soon meet their doom,. 

For every day there is a to-morrow; 

For every joy there is a wan sorraw; 

For every smile there is a tear; 

And every birth for tells a bier. 

Alas! Each pleasure has its pain; 

Each heart of white doth hide its stain; 

Each ounce of gold doth hold some dross. 

And every gain doth show some loss. 

In truth all life is agony. 

And Death surcease from misery; 

All hope but ends in blank despair 

And sordid grime is everywhere. 

Why should meak man in terror pray 

''Give u^, O Lord, our Crust this dayV^ 

"I turned about with leaden heart. 
And ague shook the form of night. 



22 2 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Then glided silently through the mart 
Of tomb-like tents in the moonlight bright. 
Like a spectre soft I stole along, 
While upon my ear the plaintive song 
With lagging dirge the chords prolong, 
Until my blood stood dead, at wrong — 
The wrong of broken faith; and grey, 
Dull grey, were the clouds o'er my yesterday. 

"A demon I, when I reached the plain,. 
And strident walk and curses low 
Hung on the air, subdued but main 
Strong and vicious at the bloAv. 
I recked what wrong befel me then. 
My blood o'ershot my throbbing brain, 
And black and red surged through my eye, 
As I breathed the curse again and again; 
For I wrenched my heart with agony 
At the base deceit of my yesterday. 

"With a cry of hate I sprang aloft 
And cut the thongs of my charger there. 
Away we flew while oft and oft 
My vision pictured the faithless pair. 
On and on over the wind-swept vale, 
With speed terrific we ploughed the dale; 
O'er hill, o'er wood, and rising scale 
The distant mount; and soon our goal 
Of many leagues beblacked the sky, 
Just at the dawn of another day. 

"Nor slacked the speed of the flying mare, 
Nor slacked the hate in the blackened heart, 
For sin was stamped in the distance there, 
And Souls were stained by impious art. 
With floam-flecked bit; with sweat-flecked 

coat. 
With heaving sides and swollen throat 
The horse pushed panting through the moat 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 223 

And staggered spent to my gemote, 
Where a hostler sprang in blank dismay 
To view this master of yesterday. 



« i 



Hold ! Soft !' quoth I with steely voice ; 
Tis silence, dog, 'ope not thy mouth, 
Or, by my faith, will the imps rejoice 
At thy carcass sent to swell my wrath. 
No word to living soul give out 
That I am here or e'en about; 
Behold, sub-rosa on my path, 
And I will yet her treachery flout.' 
Commanding thus with prompt obey, 
I sent the beggar on his way. 

*Then with soft footstep to the court 
Wherein the somber palace lay. 
The tryst wherein our faith did sport. 
The court, dew-kissed by heaven's ray. 
Where tinkling soft the sparkling fount 
Like cooling streams from lethal mount. 
And clambering vines with fragrance sweet, 
And buds and birds of myriad count. 
Redolent bower of dream's display! 
Could eft-day's joys our hearts betray? 

"The aspiring sun had squared its rays 

Above the rising turret's cope. 

And pruning doves their sounds of praise 

Now crooned and swelled the prayer of hope. 

While breezes soft and redolent waft 

The tired lotus by the shaft 

Of golden light which shimmered down, 

And e'en the playful fountain laughed 

To see the fresh-born joy of May. 

It iseemed I had gone but yesterday. 

"But all that cheer sped past my heart, 
Which bitter-black throbbed out its hate. 



2 24 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Nor could soft scenes their peace impart 
Nor gentle sounds its gall abate ; 
So, stealthily I crossed the court 
\\'ith evil glare and gross import, 
And like an horrid-omened gnome 
I stole into a secret port 
Which led me straight into the bay- 
Where slept my beloved of yesterday. 

"With cunning stealth and cautious tread 
I passed across the velvet floor 
Which dulled the step, and neared the bed, 
The canopied couch which days before 
My bride and I had warmed with bliss. 
Had sought in love, had sealed by kiss; 
The silken tapestr}-" in sweeping fold 
Hung drooping soft, and well I wiss 
The undraped form which therein lay. 
It pierced my heart in agony. 

*T looked around and saw each piece 

Of treasured token on the wall, 

Each picture had its san felice. 

Each book and ornament its call, 

And all the love of long ago 

Welled in my breast and bade me go 

And tarry not to curse the hour 

That brought me back to avenge my woe ; 

But on the escritoire there lay 

A gauntlet, tied most prettily. 

"A stranger's gauntlet ! So the blood 
With wildly-leaping sting and pain 
Sprang back, and blacker was my mood 
Until I was a fiend again. 
With bitter cry I drew my blade 
From out my sheath and quickly preyed 
Upon the couch, and thrust aside 
The drapes that hid my lecherous bride. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 225 

With harsh and raucous curse I cry ! — 
But vacant my couch of yesterday! 

"Dazed quite but not undone 
I groped my staggering way in gloom, 
For had my task but now begun, 
And now had Fate prepared her doom. 
Red crime black hours prefers to light. 
And hides its horrors from the sight. 
Like devil-fish which inks the sea, 
And throws a slimy stain to blight. 
So crouched I through the passage-way 
Which darkly led me to bewray. 

"Anon and down I crept along 
Until I came to a wide draped door, 
And halted quick as a tinkling gong 
Smote on my ear. Like long before 
The breakfast bell with joyous sound 
Would call the roused family round, 
And seated happ'ly by the board 
Most pleasant jollity would abound; . 
But now — I halted soft to see 
What form of man my foe might be. 

"With bated breath, scarce turning slow, 

I pressed the portieres soft apart, 

And gazed upon the guilty two 

Who had rent the love-strings from my heart. 

I gazed, and saw the purest face 

That any maiden e'er did grace; 

The daintiest form, and slenderest limbs 

That were e'er encased in filmy lace. 

The light of love ne'er left her eye; — 

And this was the wife about to die. 

"A half -smile curved her enticing lips. 
And flashed the dare from her wells of blue, 
While the courtier kissed her finger tips 



226 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And then he kissed her ripe lips, too. 
With mighty groan I repressed my spleen 
And felt the edge of my dagger keen, 
While all unconscious of impending fate 
They ate, and laughed at the sparkling sheen 
Of the dancing sun's reflected ray, 
Which mirrored the dreams of our yesterday. 

"He was young in form and bold in look, 
With manly doublet, and masterful air; 
In truth, not twice his will could brook. 
And his face could win a maiden fair. 
The butler observ^ed them solemnly 
As elders will the children at play, 
And seemed benign to bless their meal, 
As long as he knew her knight was away. 
But little they recked that terrible 'splay 
Which would doom her lack of constancy. 

*'The meal progressed amid sweet words 
And lingering touches of the hand, 
While silver carols from hidden birds 
Bespoke the peace throughout the land. 
He looked most tender in her eyes, 
As though his breast were filled with sighs, 
Then picked a timbrel from a couch 
And turned sweet joy-filled melodies. 
His vaunting voice was raised in praise 
To the joys of ever-present days." 

THE SONG 

Rejoice to-day! Rejoice to-day! 
To-day is the yesterday of to-morrow ; 
Avaunt, black Death! Begone, won Sorrow! 
For Life doth call — We Live to-day. 
Forget the past, nor trouble borrow; 
Live for to-day in blest to-day! 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 227 

Have joy to-day! Sweet joy to-day! 
Drink deep of love, the cup is full. 
Nor sigh the past, nor seek to lull 
The passions roused, when roused to-day, 
For vain repines make life hut dull; 
Awake to-day and love for aye! 

Live in to-day! Taste mirth to-day! 
The morrow regrets for pleasures lost. 
Enjoy the dance what-e'er it cost. 
We live hut once, and thence away 
N'er to return. What'er thou dost 
Drive care away, my prayer to-day. 

Sweet Love, to-day is the thrilling day! 
Why, oh why, can the love-feast tarry; 
Eat, drink, and thus he merry. 
For to-morrow leaps and we may die. 
The earth is gold, the heavens starry; 
Smile, O Love, ^tis our nuptial-day! 



"I heard, and quick my blood grew gall, 
And I strove not how to check my stride, 
For I beheld her crimson at his call, 
And embrace him tender, like a bride. 
Then speaking soft, as lovers do, 
I heard her gently pledge the two. 
The words were low and I heard them not. 
But the actions speak if the words are few; 
Then quick he left to ride away — 
With the heart of my bride of yesterday. 

"He approached and stepping fast as wind 
Came straight and bold to the silk-draped 

door, 
Where lurking death lay waiting behind 
To thrust him away forevermore. 
His gauntlet' arm bare touched the fold 



228 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

When with a cry like fiends untold 
My blade sprang out, and with a scream 
His stricken form grew tense and cold, 
While gurgling blood crept dank away; — 
O God ! That crime of yesterday ! 

"With horror-stricken face and eye, 
My bride could only gaze like death, 
When she beheld that it was I 
Who had hurled such harm with bitter 

wrath. 
She swayed and fell upon the floor, 
While masks of fright the servants wore, 
And then half-roused she from the swoon 
And called in piteous moans and sore 
For the dying carcass in the way 
That had blighted the joys of our yesterday. 

" *0 man ! O God !' She wailed in pain, 

'O Virgin, smile on me again; 

O husband, know ye what ye've done? 

My only brother have ye slain; 

This was the one sad yester-past, 

A stripling youth, he had wantoned fast 

And banished was from my father's court, 

But now returned a man at last; 

And ye have murdered him this day! 

Alas, had I told you my yesterday!' 

"With broken heart and pain she dies, 

But e'er her soul had flown away 

She cursed the deed that I had done, 

She cursed it in her agony ; 

For by that blow three had I killed — 

The youth, my bride, and unborn child, — 

And killing, fore-ordained had wrought 

My everlasting misery. 

Now every hundred years must I 

Beery that scene of yesterday. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 229 

"My heart stood still at the awful deed, 

My mind refused to grasp the blow, 

I tried to cry, and in my need 

I tried to pray, but no words flow. 

My tongue laid thick and parched and dry; 

My eyes were blind, I fain would die, 

And with an awful scarred scream 

I heard a voice from out the sky, — 

A voice of dreadful mystery 

Proclaim my Doom eternally. 

" ^Forever shalt thou come on earth 
And thus atone each hundredth year, 
And give thy horrid tale rebirth 
Until a heart shall fill with fear. 
A heart that hidden doth contain 
Full-venomed coil of jealousy; 
A heart that rankles, though it fain 
Would salve itself from misery.' 
And so this day my warning be — 
Beware of this tale of yesterday, 

"Bethink thee e'er thy anger fall, 
To-day is time, the morrow too late; 
To-day atone for error's call; 
To-morrow's scales may fall from Hate, 
And where the wrong you mayhap thought 
Had pierced your heart and misery bought 
Perchance may be a mirage black, 
And wretchedness may come to nought. 
Beware lest to-morrow bring agony 
For to-day is the morrow of yesterday. 

"And to-day is the yesterday of to-morrow ; 
Bespeak to-day thy future joy; 
It may bring smiles, it may bring sorrow. 
But let not dross with gold alloy; 
Clean out thy heart of rubbish dark, 
And let the heaven-light enter in, 



230 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Enfold the angels from, the ark 
And let the Love in Life begin. 
We have but once to pass this way, 
And each day is a morrow of yesterday." 

With this last word he turned around, 
His face grew sere and parched his skin, 
He struck then thrice upon the ground, 
And lo, it ope'd and from within 
There 'rose a sound of music soft, 
As angels make from Heaven's loft. 
But ere a word I could reply, 
With mingled sulphurous smell and cry 
He disappeared, and with a sigh 
I swooned at this tale of yesterday. 

* * * 

The rain had spent its vagrant drops, 

And blue the sky in western joy. 

The birds sang blithe in yon elm tops 

While rays of Sol were slanted coy. 

I brushed the moisture from my brow. 

And mused in mind — 'twas strange in trow, 

For had the sprite but read my mind, 

And to the world had isent thfs vow? 

'Twas sad in truth that Destiny; 

And To-day is the Morrow of Yesterday! 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 231 



THE STORM 

Peaceful was the day, and calm the balmy air; 
High o'erhead the lazy clouds floated slowly on; 
And in the trees the robin carrolled his full-throated song 
In flute-like tones, while from the golden field 
The meadow-lark piped his wondrous obligato. 
Ah, God was in Nature, and Nature was God, 
And all was well and good. 

The robin's mate twittered softly upon the nest. 

Fed by the busy male who sang joyously while he fed; 

And goldfinch, oriole, wren and mocking-bird 

Joined in the symphony of divine nature, led 

By the tuneful bobolink who pertly outvoiced them all, 

To make God's harmony complete. 

While strident sparrow syncopated as a thrumming 

kettledrum 
His scolding voice, and twittered a lovenote anon. 

But sudden the orchestra ceased. 

A harsh wind blew through the bending boughs 

And ruffled the feathers of the brooding robin-mother. 

The God of Nature now took on a passing frown; 

Displeasure had reached his volatile soul, 

And the darkness of illwill was scouraging across his face. 

What kind of God is this who changeth so? 

Can a God frown, and destroy by his frown? 

What form of emotional pleasure hath that God, 

That so can change all happiness in a trice? 

Can man love such a fearful God ? , 

A threatening cloud obscured the paling sun, 
Treacherous, black, overshadowing, horrible! 



232 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Purple depths lay in its darker parts, and there 

At the edges pale golden gleams of phosphorescent 

light 
Yellowed the trembling landscape, while a haze 
Of terrible agony paused and hovered over all. 
Deep mutterings and rumblings grumbled in the air, 
While vivid bursts of livid light flared across the vault, 
And danced jagged streaks of ill omen 'gainst heaven's 

screen, 
And the trees and flowers bent their heads in suppli- 
cation 
At the onrushing God of the Storm. 
Was this the same God riding on the winds, 
Who erstwhile had smiled into the heart of the ecstatic 
birds ? 

With a rush and whirl and a howl and a roar. 

Came the battle of Evil to give the Good war; 

Came the horrible imps from the realms of chaos 

To destroy all the joy that had been there before. 

The thunderous tread of the army of night 

Swept onward in battalions and regiments of fright, 

While Heaven's artillery volleyed its evil malediction 

Upon the forest and field and hillside alike; 

Pausing here and there to flash a blinding bolt 

Upon a noble tree, or spire, or gaping gable. 

Until havoc reigned and peace was peace no more. 

And thus did the God of Nature show his love, — 

By destruction, misery, and death. 

What a God! 

Anon the ghastly, gloomy cloud passed on 
With its trail of violence, destruction, and death. 
And in its path havoc reigned — havoc and misery. 
While scattered round ^vere ruins of the former joy, 
Ruins of the morning's peace and contentment. 
Happiness was happiness no more, for wrought 
By the hand of that God lay all aspiration in the muck 
Of the torrent's terrible destruction and waste. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 233 

That which had taken years to upbuild and rear — 
God's temples — to grow and point their proud heads 
To the pleasant skies, now lay ravished, couchant, 
devastated. 

What that God had made in agony of conception 

By circling processes of long-built time he had destroyed 

Wantonly in a moment, and with it all 

The harmless joyous life of the melodious dawn. 

The birds, the butterfly, the bud, and blossom, and grain. 

And there, upon the jagged rock upreared 

In mute protest to the hardened heaven above 

I found the mother robin, nest tattered and in shreds. 

With broken wings, eyes forever closed and silent throat, 

Heart-beats stilled beyond recall by the cruel storm, — 

The storm upon which that God had ridden his angry 

chase, — 
God, The God of Nature, — Nature in its finer mood, 
And Nature in its most ruthless mood, 
Liberation of the hosts of hell, the powerful minions 
Of everlasting force, energy enough to drive the World, 
Its factories, trams, anji mills for an Eon of Time, — 
All used for one brain-stormed moment to destroy 
One harmless Httle mother bird peacefully nesting — 
One robin, one sparrow in its nest. 
How pitiful ! 

Ah, such a waste of useless power! 
What a God! 

What a God! 

What a God! 



234 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



MISUNDERSTOOD 



One bright day as pondering I sped, 
In dreamy absorbed contemplation, 
I heard a cry, weak, wailing and sad, — 
'Twas the cry of a soul in grieved tribulation. 
Unconsciously, softly, it entered my mind, 
And left deep longings and memories behind. 
In vain I endeavored to recall the sad word ; 
In my heart it sounded a responsive chord; 
Deeply I pondered, yet do what I might 
That cadence of sorrow eluded me quite; 
Till dreaming and reflecting, with weight at my heart 
(I thought 'twas a warning of Delphicus art) 
When suddenly came ringing a knell, soft, subdued, 
And I breathed the sad words — 
"I'm misunderstood.'' 

The soft, sad refrain kept ringing and low. 
Through memory it came stealing, light — like the snow 
Falling white and pure on the cold, dank earth, 
Clothing nature and barrenness with vestments of birth. 
Thus to my deep longing and echoing mind 
Came the cadence, the dissonance of that sad wind. 
Mayhaps some lost soul had breathed the cruel word, 
And sinking heart-broken for suspicions incurred. 
Or perhaps some fair Echo, with soft beaming eyes. 
Loved affectionately and coyly, was repulsed, and dies; 
A child, with soft arms, enfolds man about, 
Its caress is chided, its lovelight dies out. 
And again that sad wailing resounds through the wood. 
The sorrowful inflection, 
"I'm misunderstood." 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 235 

Misunderstood, misunderstood, how pregnant with love! 
How longingly are echoed these words from above ! 
How often are we hindered in our struggle through life 
By mistaken impressions which often cause strife! 
How many a sad soul, with love in its heart, 
Is forced to wan sorrow because of this dart; 
And often poor stranger, with interest intense, 
Becomes a drear outcast because of this lance. 
All manner of men in this world cannot meet 
The others with smiles, and gracefully greet. 
All tongues cannot speak with easy eclat. 
For many a dreamer knows worldliness not. 
An eccentric, the recluse, a genius imbued, 
Loves nature and beauty, but e'er 
Misunderstood. 



236 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



AFTER ALL 

After all, what profits it the race ; 
The desperate act, the dare, the frenzied pace; 
The firm resolve — too oft dismayed by doom; 
The ghastly task, soon lost in sullen gloom; 
The life of love, the prim and silent prayer, 
The hopes forlorn, the daily grind and care; 
Dark grovelling crowds, a mass of sprawling spawn, 
Stand vainly at the brink of dawn; 
All, all but lust and petty passion's slave, 
And even lives of virtue also find the grave, 
After all, after all. 

After all, what benefits come on amain. 

Is not this fleeting life one sordid round of pain? 

A streak of sunshine edges through the threatening 

cloud 
And passing pleasure sapiently seeks the solemn shroud; 
A wail of new-born mote transcends the morning light, 
And faltering at the threshold, is hushed at gruesome 

night. 
It breaks the sodden chains of millions silent ages. 
It trails a tiny streak on Fate's mysterious pages, 
An agony of mortal mother's birth-hour worth, 
And fleeting vanished with the isoul that gave it birth, 

After all, after all. 

After all, the gleam of fires-infernal glare 
Reflections in our heart, and wake despair; 
The maid of innocence the mistress to the man. 
The man — a vulture since the world of lust began — 
Is slave to self, and barely views the gleam 
Which Aurora-like gives color to his dream. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 237 

And after all, when Silent Night its curfew rings, 
And Age the fairy .snows of soft contentment brings, 
E'en then the pain of long forgotten hopes arise, 
Remorse — regret — ^will heave the breast with sighs, 
After all, after all. 

PRAYER 

Ah, Thou mysterious moving spark divine, 
Imbedded in the meanest as a shrine. 
Give Thou the power to rise above the stanchant pall 
Which Stygian-like dismays and hovers over all; 
Arouse the Soul to strive above the puny ways 
That shackle mallow mortals through his hopeless days; 
And thrust him sheer upon the plane of nobler thought 
Which, heaven-sent, a Nature's prize hath wrought! 
And even then like falcon on the keener chase 
Glorify and thrill each Soul-Life to its place — 
After all, after all. 



238 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE BIRTH 

The sky is deep and clear o'erhead 
Like the soul of a vestal-virgin nun; 
And the distant stars shine with delight 
That their watch for the night is nearly done. 
Far out in space rush the spheres of fire 
Whirling an orbit supreme and grand, 
Which, but a grain from the infinite, 
Make music to a master's magic wand. 

And that music — the chord of an angel choir 
Accompanying, — majestic, the prelude sublime, 
Attuned to the throbs of the human heart, 
With its joys it is keeping rhythmic time. 
And that heart is a spark from the starry sky, 
Divine, in the flush of the glowing morn, 
For Aurora has lent his golden crown 
To the tiny babe that is born. 

The winds blow soft, and sweetly sigh. 
Like the harp in Apollo's tuneful hand, 
And bring the aroma from pastures nigh, 
And the myrrh from the mystic foreign land, 
And it whispers a lullaby, crooning and low, 
While it tells of the worlds it has seen. 
It lures and beckons, distracts, always. 
As it hums — its dreamy morphian paean. 

And it kisses the mother who is sleeping light, 
And caresses the child that is born; 
And it soothes the pains of the aching womb, 
For 'tis bright on this hazy summer's morn. 
All nature awakens — and dances in joy, 
The birds and the flowers and flitting bees; 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 239 

While a molten ray of the golden sun 
Kisses the cradle through the lace-like trees. 

An angel bows from the throne of God 
And hovers above that hallowed place, 
While the hours pause as they pass, and gaze 
At the tiny life and the soul of grace. 
And the oriole flies to the nearby hedge, 
While the lark tells the wren and the yellow 

thrush. 
So they tune their throats with one accord, 
Breaking through the sacred birth-hour hush. 
As the rapturous songs rise to the sky 
And re-echo as the angel lutes respond, 
A smile of joy lights the mother's eye, 
For she dreams of the great and bright beyond. 
Well she knows that the babe at her breast 
Has been blest on that glorious peaceful morn. 
For the peace of holy, happy love 
Glorifies the home where a child is born. 



240 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



IN EXCELSIS 

The gurgling brook laughs as it glides along, 
And sounds the bass notes of the titlark's song, 
And mirrors clear the nodding trees above, 
As though in all the world there was no wrong. 

But soon the titlark's song is hushed in death; 
The trees are cold and bare in nakedness; 
The shivering brook has ceased its melody. 
And, icebound, waits the springtime's kiss. 



Book of Hope! From out thy holy pages 
Stream forth the prophecies of countless ages; 
The loves, the fears, the hopes of new-made man; 
The balm of wizards and advice of sages ! 
The world was young. With all the youthful fire 
It filled its days with happy love's desire. 
All life was fair; the well of youth flowed high; 
Green was the earth, and blue the sunlit sky. 

But soon, alas, the bloody spectre, War, 

Stalked o'er the land, and heart from heartstrings 

tore ; 
And envy crushed into a mangled mass 
The dream of peace and love that passed before. 
So in the agony of writhing ages 
Time brought the Psalms, and Hope the calm-voiced 

Sages ; 
And thus from Heaven the golden prophet came 
Announcing "Peace" here in a Saviour's name. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 241 



^ 2jC S|C 

The world is old. Ten million ages gone 
Since first the sun was fashioned by the Eternal One ; 
And eons before the countless spheres in space, 
Like mighty wheels, whirled ceaseless cycles on 

and on. 
And from that ultimate of dawning time 
All mystic forces formed a gem sublime. 
There in the manger lowly on one wintry morn 
Creation's Gem, The Prince of Peace, was born. 

All sorrow, vice and crime were brushed away, 
All taints of blood had ceased that golden day, 
And He, the Brother, Saviour of Mankind, 
Then blessed the seed, and glorified for aye 
The valiant prince on proud and gilded throne, 
The pauper poor who dies in filth alone. 
And all the wondering world, through heart and 

core. 
Shall know that love of God forevermore. 



Then Ring! Ring! Ring! Ye bells 

Out, your joyous deep-toned knells! 
Tell the world your happy story! 
Ring of Peace on Earth, and Glory! 
How the rhythm, ringing, wells — 
Round and round! Their rapture swells! 
Ring! Ring! Ring! Ye bells! 



242 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE SUICIDE 

Written upon the suicide of an unhappy friend, who had met 
with continuous defeat in life, but who had really accompHshed 
more than he had thought. 

Let bards and sages and philosophers 
Describe the symptoms of love; 

Yet none can tell how act it will, 
Though most profound they prove. 

Cupid, rascal, a scheming imp, 

Of cunning mischief untold; 
One will he strike with velvet touch, 

Another in death will fold. 

Pure love ennobles one mortal's life, 

Yet blasts another's hope; 
One nature, lingering, purifies. 

Intensity burns to droop. 

Let science, psychology, testify 
That Love and Life are Faith, 

But once let Love unfold its wings, — 
Despair oft ends in death. 

Then judge ye not too harsh this man 
Who seeks death and the grave, 

'Twere better far his death to seek, 
Than despairing, loveless, to live. 

A prayer give ye to rest his soul : 

A tear might now be shed, 
All can not love successfully, 

But all can seek the dead. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 243 



TO KNOW THY GOD 

O Soul, Why wander here alone, 
Unceasing seeking toward the light? 
In ages past the seed was sown 
Which sprouts and blossoms day and night. 
The flowers shed their petals soft, 
The wind-blown seeds must sprout again, 
Their fragrance full must rise aloft 
And both must salve the souls of men. 
The Mystic flower springs from the well 
Where Jacob's fount its waters drove, 
And full the cups of the faithful swell 
As from Mount Zion the treasures prove. 
For fount and flower and seed and spring 
From heart of nature finds its way. 
And IT from God its treasures bring 
And from Thy God gifts come alway; 
We know it not, nor care we less 
What spreads the green on Aaron's rod, 
But pause, O Soul, thy love confess, 
And then, O Soul, wilt know thy God. 



244 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE CRIMINAL 



The world ! The world ! The world ! 
Oh, Time ! Sad hast thou dealt with us ! 
Fate, where is thy boasted glory? 
And Night, where is thy vaunted peace? 
For now does Crime stalk abroad in gore; 
And purity hides her blushing face in shame; 
And even Justice gropes blindly in the gloom; 
For Life is Death; and man is man no more. 

But who made that man a beast? 
You tell me, doctors, from your chairs divine. 
Come. Speak out, and in Reason's feast 
Unfold to us groping after higher light, 
Grovelling through the crime-filled night, 
Through which the moon will blush to shine, 
Who crushes the spirit of God's grand form? 
Who stamps the weak like the slimy worm? 
Distorts the mind — ^'twas once sublime — 
Into the fiend-form of a hideous crime? 
Who made that man a beast 

Who made that man a criminal? 
You tell me, Host, with your white-starched gown 
That smells of dregs and alcohol; 
With diabolical smirking on your brow, 
And 'friending all with unctious vow. 
You knew him once ere he became a lown; 
He was a good man then, nor thought of ill, 
But lived his life and loved God's will, 
Nor had an evil manner in his way, 
Except that he was poor and could not pay. 

Who made that beggar'd man a criminal? 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 245 

Who made that man a debauchee? 
You tell me, Mighty Powers that rule. 
Did he a wrong? Did honor flee? 
Or was his sin that he was meek, 
And had no friend except the weak? 
Is poverty a crime? And he a fool 
Who, forced by low-companioned pain, 
Compelled to leave his dungeon cell again. 
Goes out to strive against his rankling past. 
And is hounded by your dogs to deeds aghast? 

Who drove him to this debauchee? 

Who made that man an outcast fiend? 
Mother you tell the pitiful tale. 
He loved you once, and Youth to him was kind; 
Once at your knee he lisped his childish prayer, 
And you, O Mother, stroked his curling hair 
From off his feverish brow, with hands cold, pale; 
And how the ache within your heart would grow 
As on the squalid hearth would die the glow 
Of the last hope for aid — 'twas then he knew 
That from the grime of vice few star-flowers grew. 

Who placed him there? Who made him fiend? 

Who gave that boy a criminal name? 
You, Autocrats, with criminal minds and brain. 
Did you compel him to this loathing life of shame? 
Because he was weak, and you were strong; 
And because the "Law could do no wrong?'* 
You had no heart, could feel no pain! 
For glory was the gem you sought. 
E'en though at the price of another 'tis bought; 
And again and again, without reason or cause. 
You crush his endeavor and defile our laws ! 

Made you him criminal? Gave him that name? 

Who blasted that soul and scarred that mind? 
Defiled that temple that God hath made? 
Destroyed that beacon; made him blind; 



246 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Eternally damned him in fiendish hate, 
And blotted his name from the Eternal Gate; 
Forced him through slime and gore to wade? 
God made him once like the image of God; 
He was nobler once than the reeking clod ; 
He, too, had a right to live and to move ; 
He was not a fiend — ^he could work and love ! 

Who blasted that soul and deadened that mind? 

Who tore that heart from that human shape? 
He was rich in strength — now he is weak and poor; 
He was sovereign man — now less than the ape; 
Lower than the serpents that crawl in the slime ; 
Far-fallen from the paths that were once sublime. 
Who made him carrion, and locked the door 
'Gainst hope in his breast ? Aye ! Grovel there ! 
You ghouls in the guise of rank despair! 
You hound him to death. You made him so, 
You bow to the mighty, but strangle the low. 

Who broke the fountain? Who mangled that 
shape ? 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 247 



THE TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

"All the world is a stage." Shakespeare. 

The protean stage of life surrounds us all, 
Would mortals but their eyes uncase 
And bid the heartless curtains raise, 
Then through the lens of Pity gaze, 

And view the struggling actors from the mall. 

The ghastly tragedy of Doom is on. 

There stalks the grim and painted horde; 

There rant the puppets on the board; 

Thus some in rags and some with sword. 
(The merry prompter's box and lines are gone.) 

Here on the right you view the shifting scene 
In Cora's meadow — lover-wise — 
And eyes which glow with fondest joys, 
And sparkle bright with virgin sighs, 

Are met by Ades, borne to haunts obscene. 

And here is stirred in depths of trembling hope 
A mother's heart. Oh vision bright! 
A cherub's face; a spark of light; 
'Twas wafted from thy Godhead's sight, 

But soon, alas, in grief is left to mope. 

Again appears a strong, stern master face 

Upon this troublous stage of Fate; 

Is lauded high ; but mocked by State ; 

A King of Heaven! An advocate! 
Then crucified in thankless rank disgrace. 



248 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Ambitious rainbowed hopes, elysian joys, 
Enlivened walk and smiling eyes, 
And happy visions, dreams, and sighs ; 
Deep glowing hopes of girls and boys, — 

All stifled by some lurking monster's cries. 

Fond Gaia, with her temples white with years; 

Brave children near, and home and love; 

A smile of peace, she looks above. 

For through her life all lives are wove. 
Her prologue act is done; shed pearls for tears. 

Now from the shadowed wings there skulking 
glides 

The spectre form, both rank and vile ; 

The demon shape with festering guile ; 

A loathsome monster, in sin senile, 
He comes from Hell, for he, like Eros, bides. 

And there in wake, a trembling aping form. 
Both halting slow, yet vainly proud. 
With boisterous song and boastings loud, 
Lest whispering conscience may intrude. 

Behold a weak, debauched, and groveling worm. 

That form, all reeked and flecked by enticing fiend, 
All smirched and blackened by the fire, 
Polluted by his base desire. 
Wallowing low in festering mire, 

Was once the fondest hope of home and friend. 

And there, — but alas, ring down the curtain roll; 

Blot out the hideous, loathsome cast; 

For Thalia glides quick fleeting past. 

And Melpomene brings up the last 
With jangling dirge and shivering bells that toll. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 249 

Dear God! Tis Thou alone can'st prompter be! 

'Tis well that thou hast hidden all ! 

For we but human, made to fall, 

And then to rise full at thy call. 
Must lean our weakling ways and wills on Thee. 

Life's spark was struck for but a passing day. 

And oft to Love each soul is cold, 

Each heart a secret grief doth fold. 

Each suffering mind has pain untold. 
And every life its hidden tragedy. 



250 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



SOLILOQUY 

Transcribed from the mutterings of a pessimist who was about 
to commit suicide, but who was prevented by the author from 
accomplishing this end. 

My life is dark and dreary, 

No light is shining to cheer, 

Of hope I have grown weary, 

Of death I have no fear. 

All ambitions have miscarried. 

All desires are rent in twain. 

Success is nought but to be worried 

With trials that return again. 

Though striving to attain my desire, 

Though praying and working hard. 

Though attempting to learn and climb higher, 

IVe had coldness for my reward. 

I have tried to lift up the lowly, 

Aye, and striven to help the poor; 

But oft have I stopped to question: 

My Nature demanded more. 

If planning and working and praying 

Will give a success in life, 

Mine ought surely be waiting 

To give me some hope in the strife. 

But not a glimpse of bright dawning 

Has shed its radiance around; 

No God has deigned to assist me. 

No sympathy for me doth abound. 

"Every man for himself" is the byword, 

"Devil take the last" is the sound 

Which seems to engross the people, 

And they sneer as they glance around. 

E'en God seems to have me forgotten,—* 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 251 

Or really is there such a being- 

Of great and omnipotent power. 

Who takes us poor mortals when dying? — 

If so, then here is a victim 

Of the coldness of this cruel, cold world ; 

For I seek death rather than perish 

A Pre-Adamite on blind mortal hurled. 

If there be a Heaven Eternal, 

If there sits a great God on high, 

Then take Thou my soul, O Thou Great One, 

For I but long to die. 

What is man's sad lot here while living? 

Weary waiting and strife and pain; 

Three^score years of much trouble, 

And returning to dust again. 

"Dust thou art, to dust returnest," 

Was said of us creatures here below, 

And when our life work is finished. 

Puff ! to oblivion we go. 

Perchance it meant not the spirit. 

Mayhap not said of the Soul, 

But what is that indefinite quantity? 

Will we know when we reach the goal? 

Why must we work for one moment? 

■■ — ^And life but one moment is. 

Grasped or stolen from Eternity, 

And forgotten by Him that arose. — 

But has there a Saviour arisen? 

Oh questions, ye must arise! 

Where is the end of Eternity ? 

What lies beyond the skies ? 

A mystery is life and living ! 

Yes, I am weary of all ! 

If now there be a Great Master, 

I am weary and await his call. 

Pain did I give up on entering. 

Destruction of life to exist; 

But no pain will I awake on departing — 

Then take me, Ye Heavenly Blest! 



252 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 



THE PAST 

Those gladsome, happy days of yore 
With thoughtless joys, return no more, 
But in our thoughts sweet memories lie, 
We recall the past, and dream, and sigh, 
A smile then curls our whispering lip 
As some quaint fancy our memories stir; 
A frown, or tear from lashes drip, 
As wrong or sorrow returns once more, 
And as the longing and desire 
Of happy love-days cross our mind 
We tenderly breathe a soul-sent prayer, 
"To her, Oh Father, be thou kind " 
Then to this age perforce we're brought. 
And of the future fond we think. 
Oh happy past! Thy hopes have taught 
Full many a lesson ! Now at the brink 
We await Eternity. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 253 



THE MYSTERY OF THE SPHINX 

Upon an ancient slip of papyrus, recently exhumed in the ex- 
cavations of Egyptian tombs, was found a short description of 
what purported to be the legend which surrounds the building 
of the Egyptian Sphinx and the uses for which it was designed. 
The story mainly involves the beautiful daughter of one of the 
rulers of Egypt in the ancient days, who for some misdemeanor 
was condemned by her father to be buried alive in a large tomb, 
and remain there until a man many centuries hence should pro- 
cure a mythical ring and bring it to the Sphinx, whereupon he 
would have access to the tomb of the Goddess, as she was called, 
and reawaken her to life. 

Long has it stood weathering the storms, 
Never flinching, never craving for rest : 

Its foundation is buried by the fine red sands, 
But still it stands silently, a monument blest. 

'Tis told by sages, by bards and in legends 
That a secret it guards, it v^ill never unfold; 

Its face is set rigid; its eyes gaze far 
Out o'er the desert. It has never told 
To man its secret. 

Its osseous eyes have a farav^ay look, 
Gazing far out over mortal man's head, 

As though never stooping to pygmy conver- 
sation, 
Lest to tell its great secret perchance it be led. 

Upon its cold face are chiseled the lines 
Of wisdom, of thought, of power and grace; 

It has a determined God-like appearance, 
Which man could well copy did he have a place 

In keeping a secret. 

Who will guess the secret? What does it mean? 
Does that enormous mound of modeled stone 



254 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Hide the grave of an Egyptian king? 
Lies a princess here buried, a saint entombed? 
Is this the great hallowed sepulchre 
Of the goddess who was doomed 
To be buried alive or mummified, 
And ne'er to see the light till ages have died 
And been hurried past on its incessant 

string, 
Till centuries have come, and with it the ring 
Which will resurrect the goddess, 

Reawake her to life? 
Who is the successful one in the strife 
To guess the secret? 

Nay! The Sphinx never grows weary! 

It guards its secret well. 
Somber it stands, nor is it so easy 

Its secret to tell. 
Then find out its secret, you antiquarians 
who delve, 

It's a puzzle, a mystery. 

All think. Who will solve 

The secret? 

The enigma is old, but yet ever new:^ 
As the Sphinx alone has refused to do 
What all other works of ancient art 
Have long since been compelled to impart, — 
To man its secret. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 255 



THE COSMIC URGE 

Nebulous and inchoate 

Mystic, misty, insensate. 

Unformed and vast, intangible. 

That fills all void to endless space — 

Was here before the world began. 

Was here before the stars above 

First 'gan their endless journeyings, 

And e'en was e'er the portals of endless time 

Oped up the auroreal paths of eternity 

To let the first shy throb of pulsing cloud 

Attain its faintest shimmer of dawning form! 

Call it the Spirit, God, or Jove, 

Fill it with mysterious powers, 

Assign all attributes above. 

The guide, the guard thru all the hours, 

Progenitor of time and space, 

Forefathers of our very race, — 

Yet back, far back to the first moment's surge. 

We find, we feel 

The Cosmic Urge. 

Instinct of Creation, the power to do. 
Reflex, intuitive, the Ultimate Will; 
The secret of life, to live, to grow. 
The vaunted lust, desire to kill, 
Electric, magic, bromide, heat. 
Combustion, force, and psychic's threat; 
All forms of growth, from low to high, 
From atom ultimate to lower form 
Of amoebic life, thru and nigh 
To higher ways of cosmic hope. 
Power, pressure, potency, — 
Acme of vibratory efficiency, — 



256 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Omnipotent Will with mortals merge, — 
All are but forms of 

The Cosmic Urge. 

What builds the petrified music of the seer? 

The angel-hymns of the architect? 

Aye, what plants the spark of Eternal Fire 

Upon that vast and gigantic Milky Way, 

And makes the myriad monster spheres spin and whirl 

On their endless path so ceaselessly? 

What force uprears the wondrous mountains gigantic 

And flows the restless seas from shore to shore, 

Builds the land, the shifting sand, 

And erects the rocky temples to wild nature's god? 

What visions the wonder of our modern Aladdin, 

The dazzling sight of the morn of youth. 

The urge of the worm to ape the man, — 

The paupers to become the king? 

Ah, define all things, but man, thou fool, remember, 

There is ever a dynamic quickening 

Of the protoplasmic dust into the procreative unit. 

Amalgamating all with the subliminal 

Essence of Life, — 

The Cosmic Urge. 

Comb the Universe for living words to express 

The faintly subtle breath of meaning. 

And brush the comet's tail on the celestial seas of space 

For phrases, idioms, thoughts and gradations 

Of abstruse explanations which when boiled 

And purged and pressed and condensed 

By Hydraulic and Herculean pressure 

To their penultimate will in deep 

And Divine Condensation exactly defined 

What all theologies, all religions. 

All ethics, philosophies, theorems. 

Yogis and other mysterious and mystic 

Promulgations from out of the brain 

Of man mean, when they try to explain 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 257 

Youth perpetual, perennial renewal, 

The Living God, Immortal Life, and all 

The Occult storms of Higher Thought, — 

'Tis all one-thoughted and expressed by the words — 

The pregnant words, — 

The Cosmic Urge. 

The oribund acorn placed within the ground, 
A sepulchre of buried sodden hopes. 
And soon anew the queries deep propound — 
"Shall rise the dead, and only gropes the soul 
For light above and newer life when dead 
And rotted cruel, and fed upon by that 
Minute small germ within itself contained? 
Is that the mystic cycle ultimate?" 
The Urge within that tiny cannibal grain 
That caused it to awake and stretch and come 
From out of its unhallowed dreamless lethargy 
And send its searching tender roots 
Deep in the parent breast to feed and feed 
Upon its mother, dead and rotting there, 
Only to gather strength to thrust its head 
Above the fallow ground and rise in joy. 
Majestic and noble, t'ward the sun and skies, 
And in the span of quickly passing years 
Expand a shelter to the farer of the way 
As he plods his hopeless weary path along ; 
That Power, the irresistable essence of Life 
Is called by Name, 

The Cosmic Urge. 

What urge find we within the passioned male 

When Spring its flushing green the branches tinge, 

To seek a mate — a mate yet shy, yet bold. 

And equal passioned, send in ecstasy. 

An endless chain of life and life and life again? 

Instinct of primogeniture ! Alas 

The cavilling ornithologist with scant 

And scurrilous audacity would preach 



258 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

The cyclic growth of insensate will. 

Call it but what you may, 'tis there, 'tis here, 

'Tis but the Cosmic Urge within the blood, 

The drop of High Divinity that comes 

We know not whence, nor how, nor where. 

That all things have, that moves all time, 

And space, and things throughout all space. 

And fills each every atom, ion, drop, — 

All the vastnesses of time — Eternity. 

It is 

The Cosmic Urge. 

We all have dimly seen and marvelled at 
The pragmic mystery of a Soul groping 
On its faltering way to higher things : — 
Commodity — Beauty — Art and Commerce, — 
Literature and the frenzied mind 
Of the wild-eyed Poet in the zenith 
Of his power — Surge of Procreation, 
Supernatant activities of impowered mankind, — 
Superfluitant dream of the allseeing idealist 
Vaulting into the mystic, unknown, 
Vast spaces of paths untrodden, — 
Scientist, Biologist, Psychist, Savant, 
Searching the micrococci of Ultimate Truth, 
All — all — are but the impulse apparent 
Of the inherent God — 

The Cosmic Urge. 

The Harmony of the Soul awakes in ecstasy, 

And Music of the silent flying spheres 

May thrill and thrall the optimistic mental reach; 

The poison worm may spin its silk cocoon, 

And lo, a shy but gorgeous butterfly 

Emerges, to bask and flit and flutter high. 

And flashes in the warm soft sun 

A day, a night — to sip the honeyed nectar 

From the chalice of the Blushing Rose. 

It knows not why, nor cares. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 259 

It soon must die — but on its own spark 

Of life is sent down the distant ages, 

The urge to procreate — to live again; 

All the vibratory Life, the latent Power, 

The Galvanic Energy, the drive, the tower, 

The Propulsive Essence of the Universe, 

The Bite of Ambition, Desire of Advancement — 

It is 

The Cosmic Urge. 

Eternally productive is nature, 

Eternally and perpetually and ever 

Its mandate goes forth — to live again 

And never die. That is why 

I created thee and all Adams. 

There is no true inertia. 

The power of multiple-existing being 

Never had a beginning ultimate. 

It Was before the first moment of time began, 

It Is, and ever shall be. 

It was here, there, and everywhere, 

In the dark places as well as the light. 

And thru and thru the uttermost paths 

Of wide and limitless space, 

Lo, we find it there also. 

The Hebrew and Religionist 

Bow low in humility and strike their breasts 

And pray an abject prayer and call 

It Diety, God, Jehovah, Elohim, 

While each sect and separate theology 

Gives it a name which has its fear 

To conjure with. But sum it all, 

Take the subtle shades of meaning 

From the hollow words of each, and we find 

That all alike are Unity — all but express. 

The thought we place in terrible words, 

It is 

The Cosmic Urge. 



26o STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Take the magic microscope and seek 

The smallest spot of nothingness, and 

Lo, discover that Life is still extant; 

The vibration of Eternal Power 

Is there, and even in the miscalled 

Senseless things, the rock, the clod, the drop 

Of insensate slime, and less, the ion of small 

And smallest subdivision of matter, — 

So small that even the all-seeing eye 

Of the Pagan or Christian God, 

The Thor or Jove of the Ancients, 

Budda, Nuk-pu-Puk, or the great I Am 

Of all the tribes and nations 

Since reason sat on the shoulders of man. 

May not even know that it is hidden there, 

And yet within that electron of ultimate vibration 

There will we find the source of things; 

It has the Urge, the thrill to be, — 

All have their life, their power, vibration, 

A part of things, ^ 

The Cosmic Urge. 

The servant of man and all am I, 

And yet the secret master, 

For I prod to live but not to die, — 

Ignore me — and seek disaster. 

The uttermost space of Heaven I own, 

The deepest spot in Hell, 

Nor smile, nor tear, nor plea, nor moan, 

Can halt the impulse of my spell. 

I drive, I prod with ceaseless force, 

And blood and sap flows stronger, 

And he obeys who skims the course, 

And lives by m_e the longer. 

For I am I, the Power Divine, 

The essence deep, the kinetic surge, 

And if thy life is merged in mine, 

Thou livest, Man, for I — 

I am 

The Cosmic Urge! 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 261 



THE DOOM 

A HOAX IN THE MANNER OF POE:'s RAVEN 

This poem was written as a hoax to mislead a loud-voiced 
critic. The intent was to achieve Poe's rhyme and meter. It 
accomplished its purpose. 

ARGUMENT 

Long ago, so the legend runs, in Scotland, the only scion 
of a noble family, squandering his patrimony, sought relief 
and release from the contempt of the world by secluding him- 
self in one of his ancient castles. With him he had his amour- 
ette, a most beautiful young maiden, whom he had picked up in 
sunny Italy, and whom he loved with an intense and deep pas- 
sion. However, he had never done her the honor nor favor 
of making her his wife, and so taking ill she sadly died, dis- 
honored. 

When it was too late, the young nobleman realized his great 
wrong, and at her bier was so overcome with remorse that he 
became violently insane for the time. From that time on, he 
refused to allow the bier to be removed, but vainly sought sur- 
cease from his sorrow by mourning over her. 

And it is said that forever will he live, vainly mourning and 
repining over the beloved bier of his wronged mistress. The 
castel lies in ruins now, the casket is rotted and crumbled into 
dust, and it is whispered that but a shadow remains of the aged 
man who can never die. But the older people still claim to see 
his spirit form hovering, vainly hovering and regretting, there 
over the passing of lost opportunities, opportunities which, once 
passed, never come again. 

Time agone while listless dreaming in my castle, 

hardly seeming 
Conscious of the fitful gleaming of the candle in 

my room, — 
Listing not the spluttering flutter of the candle in 

my room, — 
Dreaming dreams of lingering longing, seeing shadows 

in the gloom. 
Suddenly I heard the patter 

Of a footstep, then the clatter. 



262 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Clatter of some ghostly matter 
On the loam without my room, — then at the terrace 

Near my room. 
Idly thought I, and did mutter, *'0h, 'tis nothing 

but the shutter 
Making idle noise and flutter 

In the gloom." 

Dreaming here of lost ambitions, thinking thoughts 

of waning missions. 
Fondling hopes of staid conditions which were pent 

up in my heart, 
Conjuring now gleaming visions of ideals 

deep in my heart. 
Mourning sadly for Wanita — deep regrets to me impart ; 
Then again I heard the tapping. 

Then the patter, then the rapping, 
Rapping of a body flapping 
'Gainst the lattice of my room — making noises 

in the gloom. 
Not aroused yet from my napping I conflict the sounding 

—tapping, 
With the shutters idle flapping 
In the gloom. 

Drowsily was I there thinking of the circles which 

were linking 
Souls departed to the shrinking lower toils of 

Hades' shore, — 
Thinking of Algheries' circles, — morbid view of 

Adies' shore, 
And my mind was filled with visions, — visions 

of black Dante's lore. 
When within my fancy stealing 

Came a dread, a ghastly feeling, 
Like the shudder when the pealing 
Of a bell tolls through the gloom, — Like the knell 

of Stygian doom. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 263 

Then there stole to fancies napping, — ^gently, softly 

came that tapping, 
Tapping, tapping, and the rapping 
In the gloom. 

Softly in my dream 'twas stealing, mingling, 

tingling with the pealing 
Of that bell; in thought revealing all the agony 

of my soul. 
In my dream I heard a knell which brewed 

a warning to my soul. 
Ghastly visions, soft from Hell upon my 

dreamland fancy stole. 
Pondering thus, yet was not sleeping, 

Por my heart was filled with weeping, 
Weeping, for my soul was keeping 
Longings deep from Nita's tomb, — My heart would 

sink in Nita's tomb; 
And the flicker of the candle cast weird shadows, — 

and the smell 
Of the champak from the dell 
Breathed of gloom. 

Ah, — *twas summer's breeding time, when all sweet 

flowers, fragrant climb 
In radiant blossoms, and the thyme and odors, 

graceful and perfume 
Awake dead romances, and sorrows of dead longings 

fill the gloom; 
When the mind is stirred to weeping by the 

fragrance in the room; 
When jasmine buds remorse awakes, 

A troubled brain from musk betakes. 
The odor of frankincense speaks 
Of dark mystery and gloom,^ — the pung-sweet aloe 

breathes of doom, — 
There through the dark I longed the morrow; At 

Nita's couch I strove to borrow 



264 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Life for her and hope from sorrow 
And the gloom. 

Low my loved one lay and dying. Here I watched 

and prayed, and sighing 
For life's hope, to me denying, vainly longed gross 

Death to thwart; 
O, how pale and sweet was lying — "Love, My Love, 

We can not part!" 
There I dreamed — to still the deep unsatisfied 

longings in my heart; 
While without a storm came dashing, — 
Thunders rolled and fiercely crashing, 
Lightnings spring and jagged flashing 
Stir Heaven's tears, the vault illume, tears for 

Nita and her doom. 
Lo, the sultry atmosphere bestirred my heart, aroused 

in fear. 
I dreamed and voiceless whispers hear — 
"Now thy doom." 

Half awakened then I ponder, "What alchemy 

roused by thunder 
Could such hideous noises conjure, here comes brooding 

in my room?" 
Now my heart is filled with terror, imagining faces 

in the gloom. 
Oh, the gloom, the gloom, the fearful gloom; black, 

black and scoriae in my room! 
Deep in my heart it now was sinking, 

While there I sat, half-dreaming — thinking. 
Thinking of my love and linking 
Past regrets of love and home — I hoped for love beyond 

the tomb. 
Behold again the ghastly noise, above the thunder's 

howl did rise, 
Upon my heart it quaking lies. 
Voice from the tomb. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 265 

I trembling glanced at Nita's face and whispered, 

"Ah, 'twas Nita's voice, 
Which, echoing soft, did now arise in lingering cadence 

through the gloom. 
She begged for water or for nectar; — Sweet Love — thy 

whisper in the gloom/' 
While kissed upon her slender form the flickering candle 

shadows lume, 
But her sweet lips were closed in silence, 
Damp her brow, — her earthly romance 
Closing now. The air grew dense 
As filled by incense from the gloom. A formless 
censer in the room. 
I gazed about in blank despair, and sought for forms 
high in the air, 
Illumed by lightning's vicious glare 
Which spoke of doom. 

The heavy curtains fitful swaying roused a fear, my 

heart dismaying; 
Every wierdsome sound betraying unseemly visitors 

prowling near. 
Then softly, softly, stepped I, walked I, to the door 

in quaking fear, 
Hoping, fearing 'gainst all hope that 'twas but 

'maginings of despair. 
Cautiously, I oped the door 

And peered without — the gloom t'explore, 
When, -fiends beheld I on the floor! 
A leering face press through the gloom! — push through 

the crack into my room! 
I gasped in terror at the sight, and pressed the door 

in frantic fright, — 
Rank, loathsome faces in the night 
Hid by the gloom. 

"Ye Heavens!" cried I in agony, "The fiends! The 

fiends from Tartary ! 
What means this loathsome augury, — these fiends, 



266 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

these imps at this wan hour? 
Why mock my sorrow and reverie, my dying love 

at this wan hour? 
How dare they come, unsought, unhid, and force 

themselves in Nita's bower?" 
In frantic dread I pressed the door, 

But at the windows, — through the floor 
They glide, they press and filtering, pour, 
A ghastly stream of mist and gloom, assuming form 

within my room ! 
By fright I clung then to the door, but lo — 

it cleft, and fiends of yore 
Thrust me avaunt and screeching roar, 
"Now thy doom!" 

Then a mass of ghastly gloom came rushing in my 

ancient room : 
Howling demons, fiendish visions, racked and 

broken, Satan sore ! 
Miserable visions, horrible visions — racked and 

broken, — Satan sore ! 
Troups of ghouls, and putrid spirits fresh from 

Tartary cross my floor; 
Hideous corpses with lolling faces, 

Stink and rot, — yet noisome voices 
Raised in shrieking loud rejoices. 
Desecrate my 'witched room — howl and crawl within 

my room, 
Calling forth this gruesome warning in a voice of 

rage and scorning — 
(In my heart deep it was burning) 
"Now thy doom!" 

Startled thus I stood and staring, -'"^^ 

moving never, breathless peering, 

"Why this ghastly mass of jeering spirits, 
furious, — Hell's delight ? 

Hideous spirits, ugly spirits, frightful, devilish — 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 267 

Hell's delight! 
Why such loathsome midnight visitors forced 

unbidden on my sight?" 
Stood I trembling now in horror, 
Knowing not but 'twas my hour, 
And enwrapped in Satan's power 
Here entrapped within my room — with his demons, 

in my room, — 
Howling forth their direful warning, while the words 

were in me burning 
Surging forth and hot returning, 
"Now thy doom !" 

Circling 'bout in rank confusion, screeching yet 

their wroth contusion, 
Soon they sink unbidden on all space within 

my room; 
Making hell-hole, taint and corrupt, all the space 

within my room; 
Polluting all, — my couch and table, scrolls, and 

memories all entomb; 
While the fulsome sulphur smell 
In bluish haze direct from Hell 
Upon the uncouth visitants fell 
Enwrapping all in Pluto's gloom, — within my heart 

lies Pluto's gloom, — 
Entwines the words of dread despair in circling 

columns through the air, — 
Lit by the lightning's fitful glare, 
"Now thy doom!" 

Stopping then the furious beating of my heart 

then in me eating 
Core of strength, and fiercely heating mind and 

soul in brooding fear, — 
Sapping all my strength and mind in hopeless, 

frenzied brooding fear, — 
Thus I spake with trembling shake to Pluto's 

form now standing near, — ? 



268 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

*'Sire, thy pardon I implore, 

If here thy presence I endure, 
Pray thy business now outpour? 
V/hence away, and w^hy you come, with all thy 

demons in my room? 
Speak ! O, ruling fiend of Hades ! Why this awful 

throng of shades?" 
Then the gloomy answer made is — 
"Now thy doom!" 

Startled thus I stood and staring, never moving, 

breathless peering, 
'Till I thought my numbed hearing played me false 

as had my sight, — 
Both my mind and o'erwrought hearing played me 

false as had my sight. 
Now I doubted — words I scouted as false visions 

of my fright. 
Still the gruesome, shrieking, howling, 

Of the shades, who now were growling 
And like base monsters restless prowling. 
Gritting teeth and casting spume in restless tramping 

round my room, 
To the thunders which yet crashing, and without the 

glare yet flashing, 
Echoing the fiendish gnashing, — 
"Now thy doom!" 

Soon the noise became oppressing, to my heart and 

mind depressing, 
So with fear I turn, expressing quaking doubts at 

this intrusion. 
Trembling now I stand repeating quaking doubts 

at this intrusion. 
Implore of Pluto in words of anguish — "O, dispel 

this loud confusion." 
At a beck and wave of arm. 

Now every shade and hideous form 
With ghostly grins around me swarm, 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 269 

Breathe their rank and stinking fume from out their 

throats into my room, 
LolHng, grinning, ghastly staring, with one 

shout — then closely leering 
Sudden silence greets my hearing — 
Like the tomb. 

'Gainst the wall then breathless standing, wisting not 

what this portending. 
Silence broke I by demanding once again of Pluto 

there. 
Spoke I now with fear and trembling once again 

to Pluto there, 
While the wind howled at my lattice, filled my 

heart with dread despair. 
"Sire" said I with a quaver, 

"Though in Hell I'm no believer, 

Yet, perchance, King of Death's river, 
For some quest to me, you come. Mayhap, you 

journey from Hell's gloom 
To bear my Nita to your fell. But listen, she ne'er 

goes to Hell." 
Then the answer, with a yell — 
"Now thy doom!" 

Once again the brooding silence stills the specters 

howling violence, 
And I look with quick beguilance at the forms low 

leering there, 
Knowing not what hellish meaning brooks the forms 

low leering there. 
Seized with lurking dread and fear, then bending low 

in mute despair, 
"Sire, now thy pleasure," cried I 
"For thy might I'd not deny, 
If perchance now I must die, 
Pray — before I'm wrapped in gloom — avenging 

Fiend — O ere my doom 
Wafts me away from earthly day, one moment spare — 



270 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

O spare to me, 
That I a wrong may rectify, 
Before my doom." 

Low on my knees I bent imploring, while without 

the storm was roaring, 
And, within, — my fate deploring, — here I beg for 

Pluto's grace. 
For fair Nita would I live, so now I beg for Huto's 

grace ; 
Aye, to live for her alone and now to protect her from 

disgrace. 
Not a move or motion made he. 
Not a single whisper said he, 
But with gruesome stare he eyed me. 
Till my reason fought with gloom — all my mind 

was filled with gloom. 
Then these words of terror heard I, "Mortal for thy 

sins ye die, — 
Death alone can satisfy. 
Await thy doom!" 

"No, no, O, reigning King of Evil, be thou monster, 

fiend or devil, 
Bringing misery, death or trouble, yet a moment I 

implore ! 
Thy name, O, tell me; and companions! Fiend! the 

reason I implore ! — 
Why woulds't tear me from Wanita, whom the 

fairies e'en adore?" 
Slowly fierce the answer came. 

"Hear me, Mortal ! Know my name ! Memories, 

Memories, grief and shame ! 
All thy sins new form assume; all thy failures, 

in this gloom; 
All ambitions lost are nigh ; all thy passions now 

espy, ^ 

And Nita's sin, O soul, am I 
To fill thy doom!" 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 271 

Guilty now my mind is thronging with wild thoughts 

of misspent longing, 
Here with hopes of life prolonging list I now to 

judgment word, 
Through my memory now is thronging long-forgotten 

lust endured. 
Sin and passion, hope and longing — Fair Wanita's 

love I lured. 
"Oh, loved sin, of love most dear, 
Wanita's grail, dost thou appear? 
Then of this hoard I have no fear ! 
For on thy grave my love would bloom; in thoughts of 

thee I know no gloom. 
Ah, welcome then — for sad her lot, my mistress once 

yet near forgot. 
E'en when laid low in Nature's grot, 
An echo's doom." 



"Aye, rash deceiver, she lay dying, while thou for 

lustful pleasures sighing 
Refused love's hope, e'en grace denying, thy troth in 

bonds didst never tie. 
Didst never wed thy loved one, Nita, nor lover's 

bond didst ever tie. 
Now, for thy faithlessness to pure one, — aye, for 
baser sins now dieT 
With a fiendish shriek dismaying, 
All the shades around me swaying 
In grinning circles, there arraying, 
Gibbering, howling round my room, clamoring, calling 

for my doom ; 
While I in breathless agony, preferred my death than 

memory, — 
Merciful Father! I longed to fly 
To my doom. 

"Away, away, ambition's Fiend! Regretful longings 
get thee behind! 



272 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Remorse and shame, O, be thou kind, and misspent 

Hours appear no more ! 
Idle thoughts and lustful passions, vain desires 

I'd know no more ! 
Of Lethe I'll drink, of Nita think and slowly sink 

to Aides' shore!" 
Upon my bended knees then praying. 

Oblivion's stream would I be spraying, 
Regretful memories allaying, 
Fain would I now to death succumb, and 

sacrifice Greek hecatomb — 
Could I with Nita fair but roam; upon her bosom 

make my home. 
And ever loving, through her tomb, 
Seek my doom. 

Then cried the reigning Fiend from Hell, *lf this 

thy plea, then all be well. 
From now to hence until the knell of God's eternal 

judgment day, 
Until thy flaming mind shall burn thy sorrow's 

sin on judgment day. 
Shall vain regrets and memories bestrew thy path 

eternally. 
These shades, thy sins, shall follow thee; 
Nor e'er forget, nor fancy free, 

Nor longing washed from memory. 
This, mortal, then shall be thy doom, we thy 

companions in thy room. 
No vain regrets shall shape thy course. 

Nor thoughts of Nita with remorse, 
Nor tears of sorrow ease the force 
Of thy doom!" 

In furious glee they loll around, these ghastly 

ghosts from underground, 
Demonic cries, then loud resound, as gleefully my 

room they're wronging, 
And past regrets and vain repining surge through 

my room — my memory thronging. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 273 

My heart is filled with vain repining — repining 

hope — Wanita's longing. 
And still those spectre forms are sitting, 
Sitting, flitting, still emitting 

Shrieks and groans, — alas, the beating 
Of the rain 'gainst Nita's tomb echoes dismal 

through all my room, 
Calling forth this gruesome warning (but now I 

love these sounds with yearning), 
From darkest night until grey morning — 
"This thy doom!" 



GRADUATION ODE 

A ryhmed address to the college class of 1901. 

Sluggish this pen, and dull this mind, 

To carve such words of burning, livid fire 

As rouse the over-anxious, eager soul 

Of ardent youth, from languorous earth's desire, 

And lead this broadening life from high to higher, 

Until all baser dross is cast behind, 

Like misspent longings faintly brushed away 

For brighter thoughts of Nature's holier day, 

In noble God- wrapt striving for the goal. 

Life is doing. The golden hours are crowding past, 

Each with its diamond moment in its train; 

Nor fate, nor prayer, nor man, nor God, 

Can halt the throng, or call them back again. 

A wrong is done, 'tis done for aye, 

Nor bitter wailings, tears, nor vain regrets 

Can stop the pain that stings full deep and fast 

Until the dawning of the everlasting day. 

No deed is lost. The past is dead, 

And mouldering in the grave of long-forgotten years; 

But yet, like mural monuments up-builded high. 

Or like the granite needle — pointing towards the sky 

For thousand years in ancient Thothmes' land. 

And then transported far to unknown climes 

On living ships, and set with alien kind — 

Still biding its mission to the modern mind, 

So thoughts will live, and lingering in the night, 

Point other struggHng thinkers towards the light. 

274 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 275 

And what if dismal gloom o'ershadow all? 

The home is lost ; a voice is gone ; 

A song is stilled upon a loved one's lips,, 

Or heart can joy no more in golden dawn, 

For from the sombre bier you lift the pall. 

And press an aching cheek against a marble face? 

A heart is numb ; and oh ! the dreary, desolate void 

That follows as you grieve from place to place 

Unsoothed, uncomf orted, alone : a sad 

And melancholy exile from the sound of joy: — 

While all around you, wealth of life expands 

And Nature spreads her silver threads abroad 

To ravish e'en the poorest outcast slave 

And make him better, then, to bear his load? 

Those joyous trills of liquid music swell 

Not from yon tiny throats to mock your loss; 

Nor beats the golden sun with fervid ray 

Upon your low thatched roof, ruthless to wave 

A brighter glory o'er your head, and cause the gloom 

To pall more dark and sombre in your room; 

But rather, with the love of nature full. 

To warm the chilled heart into new power; 

To brighten every sad and sobbing hour. 

And fill the soul with tender music, sweet and low, 

That e'en gray dolour takes a soft ethereal glow 

Which makes you nobler, purer, and content 

To bear the sorrows which are heaven-sent. 

I cannot but be saddened at the thought 

Of coming age — the death of hope. The deep 

And awful longings that arise 

Within my breast, and bear me to the skies 

Of great desire and high ambition — bought 

By the hard endeaver, toiling while the sleep 

Of lust and sordid fear hangs on the brow 

Of cowering kern — shall all soon end 

In dust. The grovelling clod with grime overwrought 

Shall drop his hoe and sink again into the clod ; 

The flowers shall scent the woodland air, and die, 



276 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

And e'en the mightv' oaks spread out their arms 

That stayed the storms of centuries, 

And moulder low again into the green, 

Soft sward, like fading lights across a mo\'ing screen. 

Yet shall man live! No cringing brute 

Can lift his vision to the vault above 

And know the deity of self. Xo being 

Can tread the trembling earth with mightv^ foot. 

And, filled with the knowledge of the love 

That rules the season's ampler gro^siii. 

Rise above the baser elements of earth. 

Unless it be a soul with deit>' imbued; 

A higher Hfe with broader, nobler girth 

Than grubbing swine and slimy things that blight; 

E'en though the evil triumph in the night. 

The melting sun of faith will drive away 

The reeking horde; and swords of Day, 

With edges whet by love for truth. 

Will high upraise the bulwark of the throne 

That ne'er shall fall — ^the throne of soul. 

Of life ennobled by high sacrifice. 

Then shall that roaring lion of Albion's lands 
Crawl cowering to his distant gloomy den. 
While o'er and round his bone-bescattered lair 
The skeletons of murdered hopes shall be 
Re-camated. and rise full-free eternally. 
And e'en yon dastard eagle's \-ulture flight. 
That strong-winged bird of many notions. 
Shall halt before the wings of coming peace. 
Fors:et to drown its low-browed children's moan 
With fiercer clangings of its wilder might 
In mock-pretence to guard their unfledged flight. 
And sinking slowly, satiate with war. 
Shall view the child-men reign for evermore. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 277 

Truth may e'er be crushed and broken 
By the wiles of mighty wrong; 
Noble deeds full oft are twisted 
Like the gnarles upon the oak, 
And are clothed in blackest visage 
By the envious Norse-fiend, Loke ; 
Yet that truth will soon be spoken 
In the hallowed realm of song, 
And that deed at last will quicken 
In the breast of heroes strong. 
Though, if weak the trembling worker. 
Yet with noble aims imbued, 
Still remember: tiny acorn 
Seeds may rise to do great good. 
All great deeds had small beginnings; 
All great men were once mere babes ; 
And through fire, or careful winnings 
They attained their treasure-glebes. 
So thou, too, may rise to greatness, 
And by laboring through the night, 
Strike the rusted chains from custom, 
Raise the world to nobler height. 
Ne'er distracted, ne'er despairing. 
Pressing forward toward the goal, 
Fear to do no deed of daring. 
Rather fear to chain the soul. 

II 

Youth is hope. Its optimistic breath 

Of visioned centuries disturbs the brows 

That grovel in the dim, archaic gloom 

In vain endeavor to out-skill grim death 

By mystic compounds drawn from Mimer's spring. 

And live a Faust, forgetting that the doom 

Of earth is on the Pater at his vows, 

The saint who shrives the guilty thief. 

The mother tender, with her first-born child. 

And every being thrown from out the womb ; 



278 STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

While youth, with glowing eyes of prophecy, 

O'ertums the dismal past, and in the wild 

And frantic turmoil grapples with the law 

That makes the lower mortal more divine, 

Upbuilding high the cosmos of the soul 

That never dies. He feels the sudden sting 

Of dissolution, not the bier of grief 

\A'here conqueror worms spread wide the grave's dark 

jaw, 
But, as the dim and echoing past has rolled 
Its ponderous years into the chaos of a dream, 
Upraising man unto a high estate, 
So shall the whirling cycles of the years, 
Like might}- suns reflecting thrice the gleam 
Of some mysterious central deity, 
Again dispel the exiled Adam's tears, 
Who struggles vainly 'gainst his sterner fate. 
And lift him up, disrobed of fleshy clay. 
Into the dazzling glow of heaven's deathless day. 
Youth knows no bounds, for in his eager mind 
He flies the pathless sea and leaves all fear behind ; 
Lord of the past, with future undismayed, 
The ver\' elements bow in fierce and tremulous hate, 
Yet dare not disobe}^ his calm but stem mandate ; 
While from the hollow skies he tears the clouds, 
And culls the growling thunders from the air, 
And with all these, a Jove, he comes arrayed ; 
His life inherits all that life could dare. 

Then brave the future with as stern a front 

As ever rock-ribbed fortress glowered toward the sea. 

Look not in yon red clouds for guerdon won, 

Nor dream fantastic glories in thy impassioned brain; 

For thee thy battle has but now begun. 

The strife must end in death, or victory. 

So stand upon the deep and dark abyss 

One faltering moment, then with calm and pious trust, 

Launch out to wing the far unfathomed blue, 

And wield the scimitar bravely for the just; 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 279 

Plunge into a broad and higher sphere 
A fiercer strife of knowledge then to wage, 
And jeopardize full all that thou holdest dear 
To achieve the nobler purpose of thy age. 
Ope thou the tomes of life and read the page 
That spreads its mystic signs before thy eye, 
Like hieroglyphics from that mystic, ancient race 
Long-dimmed by time, who knew of things we fear, 
For there, inscribed in symbols half divine. 
Yet half of earth and therefore incomplete. 
Are writ the deeds of heroes of all time^ — 
Though some bold Hectors are to fame delete, 
And wrinkled Echoes in the corridors of fame 
Have long forgotten many a Plato's name. 

Ponder well these musty, age-dimmed tomes, 

And note that he is not the greatest lord 

Who carves his brothers with his screaming sword. 

But he who with eternal faith sublime 

Will live unknown, except by deed and word 

To rouse the unborn to the true ideal 

Of noble truth and blessed manhood's prod. 

Let Alexander break his murderous blade, 

And to his books a peaceful savant go ; 

And let the tired, o'er worked, plodding jade 

Lift high his eyes to heaven, that he may grow 

Full fleet like Him on whom the storm 

From out foul Judas' guilty Temples blow, 

And be a man — a brother to his God. 

The world sweeps on, and progress is the sound 

That raises heaven-wrought temples from the ground. 

Mighty questions must be solved; 

Doughty deeds must yet be done ; 

Empires builded; thoughts expounded; 

Glorious victories to be won. 

New occasions bring new masters; 

Leaders rise from out the throng, 

Like the Davids of disasters, 



28o STARDUST AND DANDELIONS 

Created by the breath of song. 
Only he who is prepared 
Can become the peoples' king; 
Of him alone who has bestirred 
Will the future centuries sing. 
Grasp the scepter ere it pass thee 
Like a bridegroom in the night ; 
Ever watchful stand, and fearless 
Strike for freedom and for right. 
We have great men all around us, 
Though the times are not so pall 
As to dim the lesser actors, and 
Cast their shadows on the wall. 

Be prepared for each new moment, 
That it sees thy task well done; 
Let the next ne'er find thee idle ; 
Let it see a new begun. 
So through life with steady plodding 
Let thy peace be on thy brow ; 
Let no evil cross thy labor 
But the highest be thy vow; 
Till at last thy lagging footsteps 
Halt beneath the low thatched roof ; 
And the Weaver of Life's Tapestry, 
Gathering up the warp and woof, 
Thanks thee with praise full measure, 
Lights thee onward with its beams; 
Then on couch of well- won leisure 
Lie thee down to peaceful dreams. 



MEDITATIVE POEMS 281 



L'ENVOI 

Dear Reader, think not I give this verse 
To make you smile, or weep, or frown; 
Nor ask for you to call the hearse, 
Nor have you nail the cover down; 
If you have read this, then enough 
Of pain have I inflicted on ye. 
For I can't help but write the stuff. 
So save your blows and grin upon me. 



THE END